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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation May 26, 2018

4/24/2018 6:43:00 PM
Track teams savor sunny weather
Christopher Luz crosses the finish line in 100 at the Summit Invitational. photo by Jerry Baldock
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Christopher Luz crosses the finish line in 100 at the Summit Invitational. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Charlie Kanzig

Track and field athletes and their fans are accustomed to enduring whatever Mother Nature doles out as far as weather is concerned, so when sunshine and warm temperatures arrive performances and spirit tend to rise accordingly.

That was the case for the Outlaws in two meets last week, according to Head Coach Jeff Larson.

"Everyone seemed a little happier," he said following Thursday's meet in Sweet Home where the Outlaws tangled with the host Huskies along with the Elmira Falcons in a three-way Sky-Em League meet.

Sprinters in particular appreciate warmer weather, and times at the meet reflected that, as many established personal or season bests even as the team is still "training through" April, as Larson put it.

Christopher Luz, a senior, ran his best ever in the 100 meters on his way to second place in the 100 (11.95) and distance star Jordan Pollard proved he is faster and stronger than ever with a huge personal best in the 400 with a time of 51.17, which ranks fourth among all 4A athletes.

"Jordan's speed ought to put fear in the heart of any distance runners he faces as the season progresses," said Josh Nordell, one of the assistant coaches for the team.

Seniors Mandi Calavan and Erynn Ricker established season bests in the 200 with times of 26.94 and 27.46 respectively. Calavan also ran a season best in the 400 with a time of 1:04.70

Amy Hills and Kate Bowen also jumped into the 400 and hit season bests of 1:06.01 and 1:06.91 as the three Outlaws swept the top spots.

Bowen also ran a season best in the 800 later in the meet on the way to a win in 2:28.5 as Anna Bartlett gave chase in second place, also with a personal best at 2:30.51.

Samantha Silva scored two wins for the Outlaws, capturing both the long jump (15 feet 2 inches), and the triple jump (29 feet 9 inches). Additional winners for the girls included Meaghan Greaney in the discus (82 feet 9 inches), Kendra Sitz in the 300 hurdles (51.52), Ella Cole in the 1,500 meters (5:44.27) and Erynn Ricker in the pole vault (9 feet).

Other highlights for the boys team at Thursday's meet included John Peckham's win in the 1,500 (4:40.65), the men's 4x400 relay win (3:42.82), and David Perez's victory with a personal record in the discus following a toss of 117 feet 4 inches. Finally, Skyler Larson soared to a personal best in the high jump, clearing 5 feet 10 inches and narrowly missing at his attempts at 6 feet. Garrett Kersavage won the pole vault (10 feet 6 inches) and placed second in the triple jump (37 feet 7.5 inches).

"The league meets serve the purpose of fine-tuning and providing high-quality training for the experienced varsity athletes, since the focus for most teams is preparing for the bigger meets," said Larson. "It also allows our younger athletes to gain valuable experience in real head-to-head competition."

The 23-team Summit Invitational on Saturday, April 21 gave the varsity track members their first dose of a championship-level meet. With teams from all classifications, every event included more depth of talent than previous meets, making podium finishes hard to come by.

Kate Bowen had a strong double, placing sixth in the 1,500 (5:06.36) and fourth in the 3,000 (10:52.68). Mandi Calavan was the only other Outlaw girl to score for the Outlaws as she finished eighth in the 200 (27.12).

Jordan Pollard also completed a quality double as he ran a personal best in the 1,500 (4:05.18) where he placed second in a thrilling race with Ridgeview's Albert Hesse, who won in 4:05.0. Pollard came back with a third-place finish in his first 3000 meter race of the season (9:14.41). As of Saturday, Pollard ranks first among 4A runners in the 1,500 and second in the 3,000.

Freshman Ethan Hosang, also in his first 3,000 of the season, ran a fine time of 9:39.97, narrowly missing a medal in finishing ninth. The Outlaws had another ninth-place finisher as Keaton Green ran a personal best in the 800 meters with a time of 2:04.03.

"Even though we are in the thick of training and having two meets in a week, the kids continue to compete hard even though they are tired," said Larson. "I felt so pleased that two of our throwers, David Perez and Meaghan Greaney, got to experience wins at the varsity level and that so many of our team members scored points for us at Sweet Home."

Sisters hosts the Rotary Invitational on Saturday, April 28, which includes teams from 11 other schools including Madras, Redmond, Elmira, Sweet Home, McKenzie, Harrisburg, Culver, Lakeview, Columbia Christian, New Horizon, and Cascades Academy.

"We really look forward to hosting this meet and we are so grateful for the members of the Rotary along with team mom Kathy Kemper-Zanck for working so hard to gather the volunteers we need to make everything at the meet run smoothly," said Larson.

The Rotary meet kicks off with field events at 11 a.m. and running events get underway at 1 p.m.

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