Track team tunes up for Districts


Last updated 5/12/2022 at Noon

Despite weather conditions that one coach termed “a monsoon,” the Outlaws track-and-field team tuned up for District at the 15-team Wally Ciochetti Invitational hosted by Cottage Grove High School.

Personal records were hard to come by due to the wet, windy conditions, but a few Sisters athletes overcame the weather in strong fashion.

With 300 meters to go, Ella Bartlett lost the lead in the 3,000 meters. Then the Outlaw stormed back to capture the lone win for the team in a personal best by over five seconds with a time of 11:21.0. Sasha Stolasz also came away with her all-time best in 12:18 to place eleventh.

“The goal for all of our distance runners for the meet was to have a ‘stay in it’ mentality so as to really push to stay in the pack and stay in the race, which Ella and the rest of the distance runners were able to do,” said Coach Sarah Thorsett. “The distance runners have confidence going into Districts now, which is what I had hoped for.”

Other top placers for the girls included Gracie Vohs as runner-up in the pole vault (8 feet, 6 inches). Vohs placed third in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) and ran on the fifth-place 4x100-meter relay with Nevaeh McAfee, Ila Reid, and Lilly Sundstrom.

To complete her busy day, Vohs anchored the fourth-place 4x400-meter relay team with Reid, McAfee, and Hollie Lewis (4:17.43), which was the team’s best time of the year and ranks sixth among 4A teams. League rivals Philomath and Cascade hold the top two times, and Stayton is ranked fourth.

Reid placed third in the triple jump (30 feet, 11.5 inches) and Sundstrom took fourth in the long jump (15 feet, 5 inches), while McAfee nabbed fourth place in the 100 (13.38). Mae Roth and Kiara Martin scored by placing sixth and seventh respectively in the pole vault, clearing 7 feet, 6 inches.

The Outlaws girls placed fifth with 55 points, behind Philomath (134), North Valley (87.6), Cascade (87.5), and Henley (55.6).

Cascade’s Emma Bates, who cleared 6 feet, 0.25 inches last week in the high jump, attempted to break the all-time state record, but maxed out at 5 feet, 11 inches, which is still seven inches higher than any other 4A girl. She also won the 400 in 57.9 seconds, which leads the 4A ranks by over two seconds. She holds the top 4A mark for 100 and 200 meters as well, and anchors the Cougars’ 4x400 relay.

Coach Dennis Dempsey remarked after the meet, “For girls, the Oregon West Conference is clearly the best league in the 4A ranks. The Bates girl could win four events at State on her own.”

The Outlaws boys were not able to muster many points in the meet other than in the vertical jumps and the distance races.

The top finisher at the meet was Hayden Roth who put together a lifetime best in the 3,000 by nearly 20 seconds to place fourth in 9:35.98. Kaleb Briggs also posted a personal best with a mark of 4:31.95 to place sixth in the 1,500, while fellow senior Erik Ryan took fourth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:13.07.

Taine Martin did his part, placing fifth in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches) and sixth in the pole vault (10 feet).

“The weather showed no mercy to the athletes, but our kids really persevered,” said Head Coach Cailen McNair.

Henley overwhelmed the rest of the competition to win the team title with 137 points. Sisters placed 12th with 19.5.

The Oregon West District Meet takes place Friday-Saturday, May 13-14, at Sweet Home High School. The top two placers in each event will qualify for the OSAA State Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene the following week. Athletes may also advance by meeting qualifying standards, and some third-place finishers will be selected as “wild card” qualifiers.

For the Outlaws, getting any qualifiers to State will be a matter of showing up and going after it, according to Coach McNair.

“Now it’s time for our athletes to put into practice all they have learned and use the conditioning they have acquired to compete to their potential,” he said.


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