Portland Track Festival

       The 2011 edition of the Portland Track Festival offered at least a little bit of something for everyone including decent weather.   The track events had everyone from Olympians to Middle School runners and virtually every level of the spectrum.   A great example of the mix was evidenced in the Open Women’s  1500 Meters, where Lauren Fleshman, who has represented the US in the World XC Championships, went out fast and  easily defeated a  solid  group of runners that included Jordyn Smith & Jane Larsen.  Katie Knight of North Central admitted to being a bit intimidated early, yet ran 4:28 to place sixth finishing ahead of collegiate runners.  Not too far behind and excited with the PR efforts were South Eugene’s Erin Clark & Paige Kouba, who placed tenth & eleventh respectively, while Erin Bergmann of St. Mary’s Academy earned 14th with 4:47.  For Clark & Kouba  the was both thrilling in that they could tell their friends that they were  “running against Lauren Fleshman, and rewarding, for their earned berths in the US National Junior meet. 

     The women’s Open 5K Amy Hastings zip to victory in a time of 15:19 to defeat Desiree Davila, who also runs for Brooks.  Olympian Amy Yoder Begley placed sixth, while Sarah Baxter a freshman from Simi Valley in California garnered 14th in a fine time of 16:45.    Katie Follett of Brooks won the 800 Meters and blew away the meet record in the process with her time of 2:02.   Sara Vaughn of Adidas also went well below the record with her second place time of 2:03.  

    The Festival has its own tradition of high quality races in the Boys’ Middle School Mile and this year’s version was a worthy addition.   Tristan Peloquin of Gig Harbor cut the pace for a the better part of the race but was challenged by Aaron Roe of Cascade with 300 meters to go in the race.  Tristan maintained his fluid stride as he glided through the stretch to win in a very solid time of 4:39.  Roe placed second with 4:41, while Andrew Vandine of North Central placed third (4:44).  Heyden Scott (4:48) finished fourth & Tanner Anderson dipped below the magic five minute barrier with his fifth place effort.    Brooke Starr of Oak Hill ran 4:49 to triumph in the Middle School girls’ mile.  Her winning time of 4:49 topped Hazel Carr by two seconds.  Nicole Griffith ran 4:59 to take third & Brenna Peloquin claimed fourth with 5:02.  Kennedy Allen was fifth.

    The Festival , although a young event,  already has a national scope and the  High School Girls’ Two Mile was a fine example.     Paige Rice of St. Mary’s Academy led the way through a first lap of 72 seconds    She continued leading through 800M, which was reached in 2:42, but she was being pressed by Emily Nist of Bishop Kelly.  The Idaho runner soon assumed the lead and the after splits of 4:03 & 5:24 soon opened up a gap over the field.  Nist went on to secure a triumph with a time of 10:57 and she followed across the finish line by Jami Bethea of Kodiak, Alaska, who was more than happy not to have to lead a race for a change.   Bethea finished second with 11:00.34 & was followed across the finish line by Grace Todd of Sheldon a second later.   Christine Bayliss of California placed fourth in 11:02, while Arizonan Kaylin Freeman earned fifth in 11:08.   Freeman edged Rice at the tape and Rebecca Lassere, also from Bishop Kelly, came in seventh.  

     The High School  Mile appeared on paper to be a fairly open race but Marcus Diickson of White River pushed the pace early, which quickly left a small pack of four runners in contention.   Keith Williams of North Central & Erik Harris of Twins Falls, Idaho ran in second and third during the first two laps.   Harris, who won at Simplot,  took the lead shortly after the  800 meter mark and attempted to  open a gap over Dickson & Williams, who were far ahead of the next closest runner.   Harris led for over a lap but with around 250 meters to go Dickson surged away, while Harris in turn pulled away from Williams.   The final time saw Dickson credited with a time of 4:13 to Harris’ 4:15.    It was Dickson’s second meet in two weeks on the Lewis & Clark track, so he has made a second home in Portland.  Williams followed the pair alone in third in a time of 4:18.   For some reason  Mohammed Hussein of Beaverton is credited with placing both fourth & fifth & it is assumed that he placed fourth ahead of team mate Dan Oekerman 4;25.85 to 4:25.86, although I can be sure as yet.  Wolfgang Beck of Gig Harbor took sixth with 4:27.98 and David Orth of Beaverton claimed seventh.   Max Runia of Crater secured eighth & Kai Wilmot of North Central garnered ninth. 

       Trevor Dunbar of the University of Portland by way of Kodiak, Alaska led the way in the Open – Mixed 5K but dropped out shortly after reaching the 3K mark .  That left Jacob Smith, a junior from Wenatchee, Washington in second place.  He led nearly the entire way and by a good margin before being overtaken in the last step by Jonathan Marcus but his effort against older runner was at very least a moral victory & his time of 14:59 was worthy of note as well.    Jesse McChesney placed third with 15:03 & Crater runners Neil Seibert & Jon Obeso finished tenth & eleventh respectively.   Gylany Crossman of Lane Community College led the female runners in the race with 18:09.

     The Open Men’s 800 Meter was rather problematic for prep runners with two sub-1:49 runners in the race.   Mark Wieczorek & Kevin Hicks both torque out immediately and left everyone.  Mark W won in 1:47.44 to 1:47.89, while Taylor Hughes of Green River Community College ran 1:52.64 to take third.   Will Drinkwater of Gig Harbor (1:53.37) and Stetson Smith (1:54.86) were fourth and fifth.    Barlow’s Arthur Delaney did not run the 200 meters until it had cooled down, which affected his hamstring, yet he still ran away with the event with a time of 21.51.   In the Open Men’s 5K Tony Okello of Santa Monica topped Ian Dobson 13:46 to 13:48, while in the Men’s 10K Chris Boyle claimed victory with 31:02.   Max King came next with 31:03.  Conner Peloquin, formerly of Gig Harbor and now a freshman at BYU ran alone in third most of the race and garnered a PR of 31;59.  Even more importantly he secured a berth in the Junior National meet with his time. 

      Of note also was the effort on Friday of the guys from North Central, who ran the four by Mile Relay.  They were forced to run alone on Friday yet but the team of Keith Williams, Vince Hamilton, Andrew Wordell & Casey Adams established a new State Record for Washington with a time of 17:20.77.   Not to be forgotten on a memorable weekend was the rendition of our National Anthem by Sawyer Olsen of Kodiak, Alaska on fiddle.