News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Middle school track team flourishes

The Sisters Middle School track team wrapped up its season Tuesday, May 17, at the Mid-Major Championship held at Ward Rhoden Stadium in Prineville.

In addition to the Outlaws, the meet included Elton Gregory, La?Pine, Crook County, Obsidian, and Warm Springs Academy.

Coaches Amber Tollerud, Bryn Singleton, and Jonathan Kelly managed the 65-member team, composed of grades six, seven, and eight, through some of the worst spring track weather in memory.

Singleton said, “ Everyone stuck with it throughout all the really tough weather, which was impressive. We asked them to be open to trying new things, and everyone did that.”

Singleton explained that while obviously encouraging kids to be competitive, one underlying goal is more foundational. “As coaches, our goal is that every kid is able to experience being on a team, and they will continue to participate in the years ahead.”

The Outlaws held their own at the meet despite being one of the smaller schools competing. In fact the seventh- and eighth-grade girls squad finished second in the team standings, losing only to Crook County.

Some of the top performances at the meet included high marks in the pole vault. Max Burks, Weston Dean, and Ian Landon all cleared seven feet to sweep the events on the eighth-grade boys’ side, while Kate Singleton cleared eight feet to take the top spot for girls. Althea Crabtree won the high jump (4 feet, 4 inches) and also cleared seven feet to place second among seventh-grade girls.

Seventh-grader Audrey Corcoran produced a high-school-level long jump mark of 15 feet even, and eighth-grader Brooke Duey (14 feet, 10.75 inches) was right behind her as the pair went 1-2. Additionally, Corcoran finished second in the 100 meters in 13.68 seconds.

Alli Fogarty picked up a second place in the discus (75 feet, 7 inches) and Josie Ryan ran a gutsy 1,500 in 6:02.92 to finish third.

The eighth-grade team of Payten Adelt, Teagen Welsh, Norah Thorsett, and Kate Singleton finished third in the 4x200 relay in 2:14.49.

In addition to the pole vaulters, Bauer Ellis had an outstanding meet among boys as he placed second in the 1,500 (5:06.38) and third in the 800 (2:32.46) and ran on the winning seventh-grade 4x200 meter relay with teammates Will McDonnell, Thomas Hamerly, and Spencer Davis (1:59.57). The eighth-grade boys’ team of Teegan Schwartz, Reid Woodson, Mason Dahl, and Nick Palmer finished second in the same event (1:53.18).

Charlie Moen chucked the “aerojavelin” 113 feet to place second.

Coach Kelly pointed out that in addition to the top performers, the team in general showed a lot of growth and enthusiasm.

“While coaching 65 middle schoolers through 14 different events at times can feel like herding cats, I’m really proud of what our athletes were able to accomplish this season,” he said. “I saw a lot of students who weren’t sure about participating in track- -and-field grow into excited teammates who were eager to run faster, throw farther, or jump higher, as well as cheer on their other teammates to do the same.”

Coach Tollerud concurred: “This year’s track team had a true sense of camaraderie through horrible weather and challenging workouts, and each of our 65 athletes ended the season with individual successes and a sense of accomplishment as a team.”

Coach Singleton, who has been coaching with the program for five years, felt heartened that the number of middle school students on the team had rebounded so much following two years of pandemic and that the kids were ready to really work at improving.

“It was so much fun to have so many kids participate in track this year,” she said. “They were not only an enjoyable group to coach and get to know, they were tough.”


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