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home : sports : sports May 24, 2016

4/29/2014 12:58:00 PM
Athletes threaten record-books
Tessa O’Hern clears nine feet six inches. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Tessa O’Hern clears nine feet six inches. photo by Jerry Baldock

Brandon Pollard came close to a school record. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Brandon Pollard came close to a school record. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Charlie Kanzig

Elite-level meets produce elite-level times, and the 50th annual Centennial Invitational gave three Outlaws runners the chance to re-write the record books. They all came tantalizingly close at last Saturday's meet.

Brandon Pollard, returning from a slight injury to his foot that kept him out of competition for the past two weeks, showed no signs of rust as he blazed to second place in the 1,500 meters in 4:00.81, over four seconds faster than his third-place finish at the state meet last year and closing in on the school record of 3:59.16, set by Parker Bennett in 2010.

Pollard put together a furious final 700 meters and nearly caught eventual winner Michael Gadbout of Jesuit, who had opened up a 70-meter lead on the field early in the race. Pollard's last 400 meters was 60.4 seconds.

Gadbout dipped under four minutes for the second time this year in 3:58.84. Pollard's time ranks fourth among all Oregon runners this season and first among 4A runners, nearly four seconds ahead of last year's state champion, Mack Marbas of Siuslaw.

The two will meet again Friday, May 2, at the Jesuit Twilight Relays at the very meet Bennett ran his school record four years ago. Matthew Maton, Summit's middle-distance star, who ran 1:52 for 800 meters this week, will also be among the entrants, creating an opportunity for some record-breaking.

Zoe Falk and Aria Blumm joined a field of runners in the 1,500 that including Sophie Cantine, a ninth-grader from Seattle who ran 4:33 for the win, and pulled the Outlaws pair to fast times in the process.

Falk, the school record-holder with a best of 4:48.96, ran her best time in nearly two years to place ninth in 4:53.92, while Blumm finished on her heels with her career best by a whopping seven seconds to finish 10th in 4:55.42.

"This race was by far more competitive than what the girls will see at the state meet level, so it's very satisfying to see them run with poise and courage," said Josh Nordell. "Zoe and Aria have been models of competitiveness."

Falk is ranked fifth among 4A girls and Blumm eighth. Charlie Davidson of Scappoose has the state leading mark of 4:51.00.

Blumm was not finished with her record-breaking day as she lowered her best for 3,000 meters to 10:50.38, inching closer to Frances Payne's school record of 10:47.89.

Falk, lightheaded after her 1,500, struggled a bit in the 800, finishing in 2:30.04.

Dennis Dempsey, who is assisting the team this year, had this to say: "I was so impressed with their efforts. I loved their willingness to risk it all as competitors. I only wish the rest of the team could have been there to witness the grit and effort these three displayed."

While the distance stars raced at Centennial, a contingent of Outlaws traveled to the 14-team Summit Invitational.

Jacob Biber, a senior in his first year of track, seems to be catching on to tossing the steel ball, as he improved his best in the shot put to 33 feet 7 inches. Seth Larson gained several feet to his best in the javelin, finishing the day with a best of 131 even.

Sophomore Jadon Bachtold may have found his best event as he ran 9:44.52 in his first-ever 3,000-meter track race to finish fourth overall, the highest place of the day for the Outlaws other than Caleb Johnson and Dyut Fetrow's second- and fourth-place finishes in the exhibition 2,000-meter steeplechase.

"Caleb showed some real potential in getting over the steeplechase hurdles," said Nordell.

Keenan O'Hern (53.5) and Keegan Greaney (54.28) each lowered their 400-meter bests, which bodes well for the Outlaws' 4 x 400-meter relay team in the weeks ahead.

"Those guys are really starting to rip around the oval," said Nordell.

Among the girls, Tessa O'Hern came away with the top place of the day, finishing second in the pole vault with a clearance of 9-6, while Olivia Chandler ended up sixth with a mark of 8-6.

Katelyn Meeter continued her consistency in the javelin, where she finished third with a toss of 98-5. Michaela Miller (95-9) placed sixth.

"It was a big meet with a ton of athletes, so while our kids did not score a lot of points, many of them attained personal bests," said Nordell.

The Outlaws team returns to action at home this Friday, May 2, at the annual Rotary Twilight Invitational. Athletes from 18 teams from around Central and Eastern Oregon are set to participate.

Field events will begin at 3 p.m. and running events at 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and $10 for families. The Outlaws Booster Club will be operating concessions including hamburgers and other food and refreshments.

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