EUGENE, Ore. – The 6A boys 800 was supposed to be one of the feature races of these championships. It lived up to its billing.
Nathan Mathabane of Lincoln – 1:53/3:57 last year as a sophomore – towed the field through a solid 55.0 first 400, with Taylor Morgan (Central Catholic), the defending champion, and Elijah Greer (Lake Oswego), defending state 1,500 champion, in pursuit 5 yards back.
On the backstretch, Greer found another gear, went by with 200 to go and poured it on all the way to the finish, running 1:50.60 for a meet record (1:50.67 by Ryan Waite of St. Helens 2 years ago) and all-time state junior-year record (1:51.26 by Mike McGrath of Lincoln in 2002). It also surpassed his own PR of 1:51.49 from a year ago and puts him 5th on the current U.S. high school list for 2008.
Mathabane PR’d in 2nd (1:51.88), with Morgan 3rd in 1:53.22, Tim Kessler of Jesuit 4th in 1:53.62.
Russell Drummond of Churchill won the 5A 800 in 1:55.85 for a meet record, beating the defending champion, Alex Ringe of Hermiston, and sophomore Cole Watson of Rogue River ran away from the 4A field on the 2nd 400 to win that race in 1:54.71.
In the girls’ 800s, Katie Waugh and Kailee Poetsch went 1-2 for Henley; Alyssa O’Connor ran 2:12.00 to win 5A for Summit (picture at right) and Alexandra Jones won 6A for St. Mary’s in 2:14.78. All three winners are juniors. O’Connor just missed the all-time 5A junior-year record of 2:11.3 by the legendary Leann Warren 30 years ago.
With temperatures only in the mid-50s, preliminaries were held on the track in all of the sprints and hurdles.
In the girls’ sprints, sophomore Kellie Schueler (left, below) of Summit, looking to repeat the three championships she won a year ago as a ninth-grader, won her 5A heats in the 100 (12.51), 200 (25.34) and 400 (58.37).
In 4A, Jessica Rodolf on Junction City won her heats in 12.64/25.81.
In 6A, BryAnne Wochnick of Central Catholic and Kayla Smith of Benson established themselves as favorites with the sudden departure of Schaveyantay Hill of Gresham. Hill, among the state lead in all three dashes, was withdrawn from the meet after a dispute overnight with her coach.
In her absence, Wochnick, a sophomore, won heats in the 200 (25.44) and 400 (56.89), while Smith won heats of the 100 (12.23) and 200 (25.32).
In the boys’ dashes, Cory McCaffrey of Sisters and sophomore Matt Anthony of Ontario won the 100 heats in 4A; Dusty Jarvis of Springfield and Mark Brooks of Klamath Union did the same in 5A, after which Brooks defeated Jarvis in a 200 heat, and the three 6A 100 heats were won by Jordan Polk of Lincoln (10.98, fastest time of the day), Tony Gonzalez of McKay (11.05) and sophomore Keanon Lowe of Jesuit (11.13). Polk returned later to edge Gonzalez in a 200 heat, 22.06-22.09.
Two long jump winners moved on in other events. Sophomore Dakotah Keys of Sweet Home, 4A LJ champ yesterday, won his heat of the high hurdles. Jordan Bishop of West Salem, winner this morning of the 6A LJ, ran 49.53 to advance to the 400 final.
In the 5A 400, Shane O’Connell of Churchill, the defending champion, set a meet record in winning his heat in 49.89.
In the girls’ hurdles, Alison Worthen of Marshfield, winner of the 5A high jump today for the 3rd time, advanced to both the 100 and 300 finals.
Reporting by Jack Pfeifer, photography by Kim Spir