Outlaws qualify six athletes for state track meet
Last updated 5/17/2022 at Noon
Most of the Sisters Outlaws track athletes saved their best performances of the season for when it mattered most, at the Oregon West District Championships held May 13-14 at Husky Field in Sweet Home.
There are three ways for athletes to qualify for the state meet, which will return to Hayward Field in Eugene for the first time in three years. The top two finishers in each event automatically qualify, along with one “wild card” from each event based on being the best third-place finisher among the six 4A district meets.
Finally, there are automatic qualifications by meeting a time or mark standard, which is based on the average third-place time/mark at State from the previous three years.
The girls 4x400-meter relay team of Ila Reid, Hollie Lewis, Nevaeh McAfee, and Gracie Vohs went up against the two best teams in that event in the 4A ranks at District — Philomath and Cascade — and came away with the wild-card berth in a thrilling race that resulted in the Outlaws becoming the third-ranked team among 4A teams.
Philomath led throughout the race, while Sisters, running aggressively, held on to second place going into the final leg, where Vohs got the baton from McAfee about 20 meters ahead of Cascade’s Emma Gates, the fastest 400 runner in the state. Gates caught Vohs on the backstretch, but Vohs was undaunted and kept contact. Philomath finished first in 4:05.1, Cascade was second in 4:10.50, and Sisters third in 4:11.86.
For perspective on the talent in the Oregon West district: Sisters would have easily won the event in all of the other five 4A district meets.
“It’s good to have great competition within the league and gives our girls confidence going into the state meet,” said head coach Cailen McNair.
“As a team we really hit our stride and all of our coaches witnessed a lot of personal records from the different events, including our throwers, who hit huge PRs Saturday. Our freshmen proved themselves as a number of them made it to finals and scored for our team.”
On Friday, Ella Bartlett, dogged the entire race by Hope Bridge of Stayton, pulled away in the final lap to earn her spot at Hayward Field, a second-place finish in a personal record by seven seconds of 11:14. Aliya Larsen won the race in 10:49.3. Sasha Stolasz also ran a personal best on her way to sixth place in 11:41.4, a 15-second improvement.
Other State qualifiers for the Outlaws included Hollie Lewis in the long jump, where she placed second with a leap of 15 feet, 5.75 inches, a mere quarter-inch ahead of teammate Lilly Sundstrom. Vohs took second place in the pole vault at 8 feet, 6 inches, a foot behind the winner, Anna Wilson of Cascade.
The top eight finishers at District score points and earn spots on the podium.
The 4x100-meter relay of Nevaeh McAfee, Reid, Sundstrom, and Vohs placed third in 53.14 seconds. McAfee took fourth in the 100 (13.41) and her twin, Delaney McAfee, placed fourth in the 400 (1:05.09). Sundstrom (17.41) and Lewis (17.61) both ran personal bests on their way to fourth and fifth places respectively. Sundstrom also scored in the 300 hurdles, placing second in 51.94.
In the 1,500, Bartlett and Stolasz contributed points as they finished fourth (5:23.5) and seventh (5:28.51).
Lewis (40 feet, 10 inches) and Vohs (4 feet, 8 inches) fell short of their bests in the high jump and finished fourth and sixth. Bartlett and Stolasz brought in points for the team.
Joining Vohs on the pole-vault podium were freshmen Kiara Martin (8 feet) and Mae Roth (7 feet, 6 inches), who finished fifth and seventh.
The girls finished third as a team with 85 points, behind Philomath (205) and Cascade (121) among the seven league teams.
“We are a small squad, so for us to place third as a team was incredible,” said Head Coach Cailen McNair.
The boys team came away with just one state qualifier as Taine Martin established a new personal best on his way to winning the high jump at 6 feet even.
High jump coach Dennis Dempsey said, “Taine picked the right day to jump his season best. He made it interesting by taking three tries to clear 5 feet, 8 inches, but then cleared 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet on his first attempts. He was seeded third and came away with the win over two good jumpers.”
Freshman Spencer Tisdel also scored in the high jump, finishing seventh at 5 feet, 4 inches, but his real accomplishment was placing third in the pole vault with a personal record of 10 feet, 6 inches. Martin placed fourth, also at 10 feet, 6 inches, and picked up third place in the 110 hurdles with a significant improvement of 17.32 seconds.
Another freshman, John Berg, scored in two events, finishing seventh in the 400 meters (57.23) and sixth in the 300 hurdles (46.68), a personal best.
The Outlaws had two runners score in the 800 meters as seniors Kaleb Briggs (2:07.59) and Erik Ryan (2:11.45) both ran career bests on the way to placing fourth and seventh in the final.
In Friday’s action, Cole Jervis chipped away throughout the 3,000 and ended up in third place with a time of 9:44.29, an improvement of 28 seconds from his previous best. Hayden Roth placed seventh in the race (9:51.68). Jervis came through with another best on Saturday in the 1,500 where he placed sixth in 4:30.84.
Distance Coach Sarah Thorsett said, “Ella had another gritty performance and our seniors Sasha, Erik, and Kaleb left it all on the track. Cole, as a first time track athlete, took most of the season to figure out how to really race, but ended up as someone to really look out for in the future.”
As a team, the boys placed seventh with 57 points. Philomath edged Newport 153-151 for the team title.
All Oregon classifications descend on Hayward Field for the State Track and Field Championships. Action begins Thursday, May 19 for 1A/2A/3A, while the 4A/5A/6A teams begin competition on Friday, May 20.
Tickets need to be purchased online at the OSAA website, https://www.osaa.org/shop/tickets. Other important information about schedule, parking, and a new “clear bag” policy for spectators is also on the website.