Vohs makes top of podium in track


Last updated 6/6/2023 at 2:13pm

Photo by Jack Turpen

Gracie Vohs is a state champion in the 400 meters.

Gracie Vohs got to experience the rare air of the top of the podium after winning the 400 meters at the OSAA 3A Track and Field Championships held May 25 and 26 at Hayward Field in Eugene. Her joy doubled when she returned to the podium with her teammates after the quartet won the 4x400-meter relay in the meet's final event. 

The girls finished fifth as a team, four points shy of a team trophy.

Vohs entered the meet among the favorites, but it took at strong effort over the final 100 meters to separate from the crowd to claim first place in a personal best time of 1:00.25 to edge Pleasant Hill's Dakota Hyland by .26 seconds.

"Words can hardly describe the feeling after winning the 400. Going into it I had the expectation of finishing second or third, but when I crossed the finish line and realized that I had won I could not wipe a smile off my face," she said. "Running at Hayward and feeding off of the crowd yelling around me is not like anything else I have experienced"

When it was time for the long relay, the Outlaws knew they had their hands full as three other teams had run faster entering the meet.

Delaney McAfee led things off and came into the handoff to Brooke Dewey slightly behind but in good position. Brooke chased down the leader to put the outlaws in first place and after she handed off to Ila Reid the Outlaws never relinquished the lead. Reid handed off to Vohs, who held off all challengers and the team clocked its best time of the season by a full seven seconds to win in 4:10.82. 

"We all ran our fastest times this season," said Vohs. "Not only did we want to win but we also wanted to make our coaches and families proud, especially coach Dempsey and Mr. Kelly who had faith in us from the beginning of the year that we could bring home a championship."

First-year Head Coach Jonathan Kelly said, "I think winning the 4x400m relay was the perfect way to end the meet and wrap up our season."

In addition to her running exploits, Vohs placed fifth in the high jump, clearing 4 feet- 11.75 inches on the first day of the meet.

A number of other Outlaws scored for the team as they remained in contention for a top-four finish throughout the meet.

Ella Bartlett got the scoring started on the first day of competition with a third-place finish in the 3,000 meters in 11:01.79. Morgan Matthews of Oregon Episcopal School won the race in 10:28.71. 

Bartlett added to the team total the next day when she finished fifth in the 1,500 in 5:03.45. Laura Tittel of Oregon Episcopal clocked a quick 4:47.11 for the win.

Lilly Sundstrom scored for the Outlaws in the 100 hurdles with a fifth-place in 16.55. The champion, Autumn Murry of Cascade Christian, ran a very fast 15.24. 

Two Outlaws scored in the 300 hurdles as freshman Brooke Duey (49.19) edged Sundstrom (49.22) and the pair finished sixth and seventh respectively. 

Sierra Samhammer, a junior from Cascade Christian, crushed the field in 46.60 seconds. 

Mae Roth narrowly missed the podium, clearing 8 feet- 11.75 inches along with two other vaulters, but dropped to ninth based on fewer misses. The winner, Regan Kranz of Coquille, cleared 10 feet-9.25 inches.

Duey finished 10th in the triple jump with a mark of 31 feet-8 inches. Sidney DeBoer of St. Mary's won with a tremendous leap of 36 feet-2.25 inches.

Despite their efforts, the team fell just short of a trophy. 

Coquille collected 66 points to win the team girls' title, followed by Cascade Christian (59), Oregon Episcopal (51), Nyssa (47) and Sisters (43).

For the boys, Taine Martin (11 feet) and Spencer Tisdel (10 feet-6 inches) finished tenth and thirteenth respectively in the pole vault, and Corbin Fredland competed in the prelims of the 300 hurdles with the eleventh-best time of 43.25 seconds. 

"We will certainly miss those two seniors, but I think they made an impression on our younger kids to strive to do their best," said Kelly. 

Siuslaw overwhelmed the competition for the team title with 90 points. The other trophy winners included Santiam Christian (73.5), Catlin Gabel (64), and Valley Catholic (50). 

Kelly said his first year as head coach produced a lot of memories. 

"It was a wonderful season and as a first-year head coach I feel very spoiled to have such a wonderful group of athletes who know how to have fun even while working hard," said Kelly. "I'm also hopeful we can build on this momentum for next season as we look at the eighth-graders coming up and new members joining."


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