Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
EUGENE — Tracy Salgado waited a long time for this, which explains why the smile wouldn't leave his face at the Class 3A track and field state championships Friday at Hayward Field.
Salgado earned the lone title by an area athlete through the first two days of competition, winning the 800 meters with a gutsy finishing kick.
"This is a goal finally come true," beamed the Crusaders senior. "Ever since my freshman year, when I took fifth place, this has been on my wall."
Friday marked the end of the 3A, 2A and 1A meets. Preliminaries and some finals for the 6A, 5A and 4A schools were also staged, and the big schools wrap up today.
Salgado was among a handful of local athletes who shined in the small-school portion of the meet.
Prospect's Kaylee Biando placed second in the 1A girls shot put, and Cascade Christian's Aaron Cesaro was second in the discus, a day after taking third in the shot.
The St. Mary's 4x400 girls relay squad finished second behind Valley Catholic.
Third places went to Cascade Christian's Stephanie Croy in the 3A girls 1,500 and to St. Mary's Hunter Rothfus in the 3A boys high jump. St. Mary's Aessa Catt was fourth in the 200.
Salgado started his day with a third in the 400. He produced a strong kick that nearly allowed him to catch Scio's AJ Holmberg for second. Jacob Sturtevant of Westside Christian won in 50.63, followed by Holmberg (51.09) and Salgado (51.19).
The big kick was just a precursor to the drama of the 800.
Entering the meet, Salgado was worried about having enough energy for both races.
In the 800, he ran a strong third for the first 600 meters, but a couple of surging runners created a mass coming into the final 100.
Salgado thought back to last year, when he was seeded second and wound up third.
"It was a run-through of last year," he said. "I got boxed in so I couldn't do my kick. (This time) Someone else was coming up so I sped up my game. I wasn't too sure if I wasn't going too early. But I didn't want to get stuck again."
He flew down the stretch in front of the grandstands and held off all challengers.
The kick that he said "has been a key to my success for many years" came in handy.
Salgado's time was 2:00.67. Quentin Jensen of Nyssa was right behind in 2:00.87.
"By that point," said Salgado of the finish, "it's all heart and all the training you've put in the past couple months. You hope it's enough. I knew it was enough once I got first."
Salgado also joined Chris Martin, Mark Wyant and Denten Edwards to help the St. Mary's 4x400 relay squad to a fifth-place finish with a time of 3:34.50. Westside Christian won the event in 3:31.32.
Biando has shown heart all season. She was upset she didn't win the shot put title she so coveted, but it didn't take long for her to balance that frustration with her success.
"It wasn't what I hoped for," said the Cougar senior, who was third last year. "Otherwise, I did get second, and I'm proud of that because of everything I've been through."
Taylor Darden of Dufur unleashed her best throw on the next-to-last attempt, 38 feet, 3 1/2; inches, and Biando, with one throw left, didn't have a suitable answer, even though she got it out to 37-2 1/2;.
Biando was in car accident last June and suffered numerous injuries. She needed emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot and reduce swelling. She had a hairline fracture in her neck, a broken hand and torn muscle in her right, or throwing, shoulder.
When she returned to school, she had to give up volleyball and basketball, but in track, she's been dominant.
In nine previous meets, she hadn't been beaten. No one came close to her state-leading 1A best of 39-4 1/2;, and five times she won meets with throws better than the No. 2 mark, owned by Darden.
But it didn't come together on Friday.
Trying to come from behind with a single throw left "was more of a mental thing," she said, "but I'm not sure on that. "» I just couldn't get it any farther."
"It meant a lot to me," said Biando. "Not many people come through what I went through. Coming out here to where I was at state and taking second, that's why I'm proud. "» It's another medal for my big wall of fame."
Cesaro added another medal to his collection. He was third in the shot put Thursday before coming up about a foot short from winning the discus. Cheyene Webb of Nyssa of took the title with a 154-5 mark, and Cesaro threw 153-0.
"It's not really what I wanted," said Cesaro, who started off slowly but "a little farther into it I got better and better.
"Second place is second place in the state, and I'm happy with that."
Croy finished second to Creswell's Olivia Powell a day earlier in the 3,000, and the result was similar in the 1,500. Nevertheless, the Challenger had reason to smile.
She recorded a personal-record time of 4:58.77 and was just barely caught in the last few strides by De La Salle's Nyalual Beng. Powell's time was 4:51.96, and Beng came in at 4:57.42 to edge Croy.
Croy's goal wasn't to set a PR.
"Not really," she said, "since it's the state meet and it's more about the competition. But it's always good to end on a high note."
Unlike the 3,000, the pack was closely bunched for the first half of the race.
"It was more of a go-and-get-it-from-the-beginning race," she said. "... It was less strategic, more just gutsy."
The St. Mary's foursome of Catt, Emily Elmore, Emily Alvarez and Sam Weiland finished behind Valley's Catholic's winning time of 4:05.11 in the 4x400 relay. The Crusaders ran a 4:08.44.
St. Mary's Rothfus, only a sophomore, cleared 6-0 and tied for third with Pleasant Hill's Alex Churchman. Jarrett Gray of Valley Catholic won at 6-5, and Corbett's Devin Weien was second at 6-2.
Catt's time in the 200 was 26.42. She's a freshman. Andrea Lemus-Cisneros of Umatilla triumphed in 25.72.
TEAM SCORES — 1, Nyssa 65; 2, Valley Catholic 55; 3, Creswell 45; 4, Lakeview 42; 5, Catlin Gabel 41; 6, Westside Christian 38; 7, St. Mary's 33.5; 8, Coquille 29; 9, Blanchet Catholic 26; 10, DeLaSalle N. Catholic 25; 11, Pleasant Hill 24.5; 12, Horizon Christian 24; 12, Gervais 24; 12, Vale 24; 15, Cascade Christian 23; 16, Umatilla 15; 17, Clatskanie 14; 17, Colton 14; 17, Scio 14; 20, Santiam Christian 13; 20, Corbett 13; 22, Burns 12; 23, Harrisburg 11; 24, Salem Academy 8; 25, Amity 5; 26, Sheridan 4; 26, Willamina 4; 26, Ranier 4; 29, Rogue River 3; 29, Dayton 3; 29, Illinois Valley 3; 29, Warrenton 3; 33, Bandon 1.
4X100-METER RELAY — 1, Lakeview (Michael Cooney, Connor Lysne, Steven Hedlund, Lane Hadley), 44.32; 2, Westside Christian, 44.36; 3, Horizon Christian, 44.41.
100 METERS — 1, Lane Hadley, Lakeview, 11.09; 2, Darion Smalley, De La Salle N Catholic, 11.22; 3, Ryan Orlandini, Blanchet Catholic, 11.25; 7, Cody Wright, Rogue River, 11.55.
200 METERS — 1, Lane Hadley, Lakeview, 22.65; 2, Darion Smalley, De La Salle N Catholic, 22.79; 3, Agi Tamez, Vale, 22.82.
400 METERS — 1, Jacob Sturtevant, Westside Christian, 50.63; 2, AJ Holmberg, Scio, 51.09; 3, Tracy Salgado, St Mary's, 51.19.
800 METERS — 1, Tracy Salgado, St Mary's, 2:00.67; 2, Quentin Jensen, Nyssa, 2:00.87; 3, Daniel Whittle, Blanchet Catholic, 2:01.35.
1,500 METERS — 1, Cooper Roach, Valley Catholic, 4:08.46; 2, Wilder Boyden, Valley Catholic, 4:09.69; 3, Zach Bellew, Creswell, 4:10.44; 5, Tim McPherson, Cascade Christian, 4:14.28; 6, Elijah Conway, St Mary's, 4:20.16.