5 athletes to watch
A host of local high school track and field athletes have put up outstanding times and marks this spring. Now they take their talents to the big show: the three-day state-meet extravaganza at Hayward Field in Eugene.
The 3A, 2A and 1A meets are today and Friday. The 6A, 5A and 4A meets are Friday and Saturday.
Here we spotlight five of the notable athletes who are either defending champions (Wolfe, Vail, Amundsen), have state-best marks or both.
Other locals who rank No. 1 in their events are Crater's Cal Duke (5A boys 300 hurdles), Phoenix's Emonie Snowton (4A girls 100), Phoenix's 4x100 relay (4A girls), St. Mary's Josh Martin (3A boys shot put), Cascade Christian's Zach Booker (3A boys triple jump), St. Mary's Emma Bennion (3A girls 300 hurdles), Cascade Christian's Emily Stephens (3A girls high jump), Cascade Christian's Kara Ash (3A girls long jump) and the St. Mary's 4x100 and 4x400 relays (3A girls).
1. Tyren Wolfe
North Medford senior
Wolfe brings to a close a high school career of pain and triumph. The sprinter broke a femur as a freshman when he tripped over a hurdle early in the season. He missed the rest of that year and 2014 before charging to the forefront last season, repeatedly resetting school sprint records and winning the 100-meter state championship in 10.69 seconds. He was second in the 200. This season, he ran the fifth-fastest time in Oregon prep history, 10.56, at the Grants Pass Rotary. He won four events in the Southwest Conference district meet and will take on the 100, 200, 400 and a leg of the 4x100 relay at state. In addition to the 100, he has the top 6A time in the 200 at 21.47.
2. Marissa Dobry
St. Mary's senior
As a junior, Dobry placed second in state cross country and second in her two races during state track, the 3,000 and 1,500. She one-upped herself with a cross country title in the fall, and now would like to cap her career with a couple crowns on the track. Dobry has the state's best 3A time in the 3,000, turning in a 9:51:08 at the Oregon Relays, which is almost 15 seconds ahead of the next-best time. The California-bound standout also owns the top time in the 1,500 of 4:37.52, more than 4 seconds clear of the field.
3. Walter Vail
Another stellar and relatively short prep career comes to an end. Vail took up distance running in earnest as a sophomore. A year ago, he won the 5A state title in the 3,000 meters in 8:37.37, a substantial PR at the time. He followed last fall with the state cross country crown, along the way becoming the first Crater runner to break 15 minutes. He hasn't slowed this spring, turning in an 8:22.81 at the Oregon Twilight on May 6 against college competition. It's the 15th -fastest time in state history. He also leads the state 5A in the 1,500 (3:56.91).
4. Emma Hickman
Hickman appears ready for the state-meet challenge. She’s coming off a Midwestern League district meet in which she won the discus and shot put. She had a season-best 124-4 throw in the discus, which is No. 1 in 5A. Her shot put was a PR of 40-8 and ranks No. 2. Hickman is making her fourth state appearance in each event. The previous three years, she competed for Phoenix. In 4A, she was third in the discus and fifth in the shot last year. Hickman is headed to the University of New Orleans.
5. Emma Amundsen
Amundsen returns to the scene of her greatest triumph, where she rallied to claim the 3,000 meters in last year's 4A state championships. Amundsen's time of 10:13.18 stands as her personal best. It came against Skyline Conference cohort Lexi Healy of Henley, a former cross country state champion and runner-up. At state last year, Amundsen took the early lead, fell back by about 15 meters, then kicked it in over the final 200 for the win. The rivalry continued last week at districts, with Healy winning by a scant .06. Amundsen has a 2016 best of 10:31.16.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or firstname.lastname@example.org