Walker breaks 3A meet record in pole vault
The last time somebody even entertained thoughts of hitting 12 feet in the pole vault at the Class 3A track and field state championships, it was before St. Mary’s senior Mackenzie Walker was born.
That mark, set by Sheridan’s Jenni Ashcroft in 1998, met its match Friday afternoon.
It was in the form of Walker, the Crusaders’ talented pole vaulter who capped a strong final season at St. Mary’s with a state-meet record mark of 12 feet to win the 3A girls title in dominant fashion at Hayward Field in Eugene.
“As soon as she’s done (with the pole vault) she goes off to run the 400 — and she guts out an amazing 400,” quipped St. Mary’s head coach Joe Volk. “It’s just the embodiment of determination for her.”
Thanks to Walker’s exploits and a standout day from junior Sidney DeBoer, the St. Mary’s girls — with just four athletes competing — nearly won the team title before being edged out on the final race of the day, the 4x400 relay, by Nyssa, which had 71.5 points. The Crusaders finished in second with 70 points, while Sutherlin (60) was third and the Rogue Valley got another top showing by Cascade Christian (58) finishing fourth.
DeBoer, who took second in the long jump behind Cascade Christian junior Autumn Murray on Day 1 of the state meet, won state titles in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.22 seconds and the triple jump with a leap of 34 feet, 10 1/4 inches, with fellow Crusader Emma Johnston finishing third at 33-1 3/4.
The Crusaders won the girls team title the last time an official OSAA state meet was held back in 2019 — a team that Walker was a part of when she was a freshman.
Catlin Gabel won the boys team title with 84 points. St. Mary’s 34 points were good enough for seventh, with senior Gavin Cougle leading the charge by securing two state titles in his own right.
“Today has just been one of those amazing days,” said Volk. “Just everything that we needed to happen came through — Mackenzie in the vault, Mackenzie in the hurdles, Sidney in the jumps, Sidney in the 200 ... you just couldn’t have asked for a better day. I’ve been doing this for a few years and I’ve never seen a team pull together like this.”
DeBoer nearly got a third individual state title in the girls 100, but was just edged out in a photo finish by DaNasia Stephens of De La Salle North Catholic, 13.01 to 13.02.
“She just put together the best two days of her track career,” said Volk. “That was just phenomenal.”
Cascade’s Sierra Samhammer won the 300 hurdles in 47.68, with an all-local top three of Walker in second (47.87) and Murray in third (58.76). Samhammer and Murray were half of the Challengers’ victorious 4x100 relay team that posted a season-best time in 3A of 50.76.
On the boys side, Cougle swept the boys 100 and 200, running 11.0 and 21.95, respectively.
Murray followed up her title in the girls long jump with two more titles Friday in the 100-meter hurdles — her time of 16.06 was the second-fastest in 3A this season — and running the anchor leg on the Challengers’ 4x100 relay team.
Samhammer, who also placed third in the 100 hurdles, finished the season with the top two times in 3A in the 300 hurdles.
“They did a great job,” said Cascade Christian coach Mike Schaan. “They’re two very focused individuals, great competitors and did what they’ve been training to do all season. They didn’t let the big stage get to them.”
Walker, who also finished fourth in the 400 at 1:02.07, and Nyssa’s Ambrie Draper were the only two vaulters to clear 10 feet. Walker reached 10-6 on her first attempt, but that’s where Draper’s run came to an end.
That left the stage all to Walker.
She hit 11 feet on her first attempt and 12 feet on her second. She tried to go for 12-7 1/2 — which would have given her a new personal record — but was unsuccessful on all three vaults.
With her mark of 12 feet, Walker can stake claim to two of the top four marks in the state as of Friday, with her PR of 12-5 set on April 26 ranked second.
“That was exciting,” said Volk. “She’s such a tough kid, such a hard worker.”
Cougle was able to pull away from Brookings-Harbor’s Miguel Ramos in the final 20 meters in his 100 win. In the 200, the Butler University-bound senior took the lead for good just as he started down the straightaway, winning by half a second over Catlin Gabel’s Malcolm Grant and Ramos.
“He had a great couple of days here winning the 100 and the 200,” said Volk of Cougle. “He served up a pretty fancy meal for us.”
Cascade Christian’s Jake Sorani finished third in the 1,500 at 4:15.54 and ninth in the 800 with a time of 2:09.48.
St. Mary’s thrower Kyan Hidde followed his second-place showing in the boys shot put by placing third in the discus with a throw of 122-10, beating his previous PR by 2 1/2 feet.
The Crusaders’ Kelsey Dunn earned a podium spot in the girls shot put with a fifth-place finish after a throw of 31-4 1/2.
At the 2A level, Rogue River’s James Jones finished second in the 100 (11.44) and Susan Smith was fifth in the girls 200 (27.73).
TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Catlin Gabel 84, Santiam Christian 70, La Pine 57, Warrenton 47.5, Nyssa 39, Harrisburg 37, St. Mary’s 34, Riverdale 30, Brookings-Harbor 27, Vale 27.
Other Local Results
19, Cascade Christian, 11.
100 — 1, Gavin Cougle, St. Mary’s, 11.00.
200 — 1, Gavin Cougle, St. Mary’s, 21.95.
400 — 1, Miguel Ramos, Brookings-Harbor, 49.52.
800 — 1, Mike Hart, Catlin Gabel, 2:00.02; 9, Jake Sorani, Cascade Christian, 2:09.48.
1,500 — 1, Zander Moha, Warrenton, 4:13.37; 3, Jake Sorani, Cascade Christian, 4:15.54.
110 HURDLES — 1, Joshua Widdows, Catlin Gabel, 15.27.
300 HURDLES — 1, Caleb Ness, Santiam Christian, 41.90.
4x100 RELAY — 1, Catlin Gabel (Joshua Widdows, Elijah Widdows, Jackson George, Malcolm Grant), 44.37.
4X400 RELAY — 1, Catlin Gabel (Malcolm Grant, Joshua Widdows, Jackson George, Mike Hart), 3:30.01; 12, St. Mary’s (T.J. Flowers, Cody Arnold, David Noble, Gavin Cougle), 3:45.60.
DISCUS — 1, Stephen Machin, La Pine, 165-2; 3, Kyan Hidde, St. Mary’s, 122-10.
JAVELIN — 1, Benjamin Lammers, Westside Christian, 160-11.
HIGH JUMP — 1, Jayden Christy, Santiam Christian, 6-2.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Sam Veverka, Riverdale, 41-10; 9, T.J. Flowers, St. Mary’s, 39-2.25.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Nyssa 71.5, St. Mary’s 70, Sutherlin 60, Cascade Christian 58, Catlin Gabel 57.5, Burns 37, Horizon Christian-Tualatin, 28, Pleasant Hill 26, Willamina 26, Creswell 23.
100 — 1, DaNasia Stephens, De La Salle North Catholic, 13.01; 2, Sidney DeBoer, St. Mary’s, 13.02.
200 — 1, Sidney DeBoer, St. Mary’s, 27.22.
400 — 1, Dakota Hyland, Pleasant Hill, 1:00.69; 4, Mackenzie Walker, St. Mary’s, 1:02.07.
800 — 1, Mikenzy Rosen, Horizon Christian, 2:28.77; 11, Saige Griffin, Cascade Christian, 2:40.00.
1,500 — 1, Megan Cover, Catlin Gabel, 5:00.14.
100 HURDLES — 1, Autumn Murray, Cascade Christian, 16.06; 3, Sierra Samhammer, Cascade Christian, 16.56.
300 HURDLES — 1, Sierra Samhammer, Cascade Christian, 47.58; 2, Mackenzie Walker, St. Mary’s, 47.87; 3, Autumn Murray, Cascade Christian, 48.76.
4x100 RELAY — 1, Cascade Christian (Jerushah Purrier, Sierra Samhammer, Elliana Vanlandingham, Autumn Murray), 50.76.
4X400 RELAY — 1, Sutherlin (Kendra Parsons, Paige Edmonson, Mady Turner, Mallory Turner), 4:15.50; 10, Cascade Christian (Jerushah Purrier, Allison Cramer, Katie Erno, Elliana Vanlandingham), 4:31.40.
SHOT PUT — 1, Erica McDonald, Sutherlin, 38-5.5; Kelsey Dunn, St. Mary’s, 31-4.5.
POLE VAULT — 1, Mackenzie Walker, St. Mary’s, 12-0.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Sidney DeBoer, St. Mary’s, 34-10.25; 3, Emma Johnston, St. Mary’s, 33-1.75.
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.