One-thousandth of a second determined the 2A girls track and field champions.
A photo finish in the 100-meter dash gave 2 more points to the Enterprise Outlaws, who topped Grant Union by half a point to win the girls title at the May 17-18 2A Track and Field State Championships at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
Grant Union senior Kaylee Wright and Enterprise senior Shelby Moncrief had dueled previously in the 100-meter dash, but the pressure intensified between the two sprinters at the championships.
In the 100 preliminaries, Wright won by a .006-second photo finish, but tables turned in the finals with Moncrief winning by a hair-splitting .001 second.
Moncrief’s time in the finals, a personal best, was determined to be 12.749, and Wright, setting a season record, finished in 12.750.
“Last year, I won with a hundreth of a second, but losing by one-thousandth of a second, there is always something that can be changed with that,” Wright said. “You can always just lean a little bit further.”
Still, Wright has plenty of good news.
She was named 2A Athlete of the Meet, shattered her previous state javelin record with a throw of 139-05 for her fourth consecutive championship title and became high jump champion for the second year in a row, clearing the bar at 5-03.
Wright also raced with junior Sierra Cates, senior Trinity Hutchison and freshman Carson Weaver on the girls 4x100-relay team to place second, just .18 seconds behind Enterprise.
The Prospectors, led by head coach Sonna Smith, had 11 athletes competing on the girls team and seven on the boys team.
Grant Union hasn’t had that many girls and boys taking the bus ride to state in 12 years, when the boys became state champions.
This year, the Prospector girls placed second as a team with 64 points, just .5 behind Enterprise. Monroe was in third with 62, followed by Kennedy with 54.
Wright, Sydney Brockway and Hutchison competed in track and field as freshmen in 2016, when their team became state champions. Each year since, the girls have placed second at state.
It was as a freshman that Wright set a state record in javelin, which she broke again her junior year and again this year.
She outthrew sophomore Izzy Steerman of Faith Bible by 10 feet at state this year.
Wright said she was happy to break her own record “one last time.”
Signed on to compete with the WOU track and field team, Wright said she knows she’s capable of improving in javelin. Some of her throws at previous events and practices landed in the 140s.
Wright said she met with her WOU coach while at the state championships.
“I already have plans for workouts this summer,” she said. “I’m super excited for it to start.”
Senior Sydney Brockway placed in her four events, including fourth in pole vault with a mark of 8-09, seventh in long jump, eighth in triple jump and eighth in the 100-meter hurdles.
“We had an hour lightning delay where we had to leave the field in the middle of the meet,” Smith said. “This affected Sydney in pole vault. She was nursing a pulled hamstring.”
The delay caused her muscle to tighten up, preventing her from competing at a higher bar in her event.
Brockway said she enjoyed experiencing a new track at WOU, as previously they had only competed at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, which is undergoing renovation.
“It was pretty cool having a new track to experience,” she said. “The competition was pretty stiff, but it was still fun to compete and make some new PRs in my pole vaulting.”
This was Brockway’s first year competing in pole vault with assistant coach Buzz Gilmore.
Although she was working through an injury, Brockway improved her previous mark by 3 inches.
Brockway reached the same height as Johanna Simonsen of Oakland, who placed third. Julia Ketcham of Lakeview placed second with 9-03, and Jessica Lai of Portland Christian captured first with 9-09.
Like many on the team, Hutchison has been involved in multiple sports, and said she’s enjoyed competing in track.
“Track was always my favorite sport throughout high school,” she said. “I really enjoy the atmosphere and the kids I got to compete against and my teammates.”
She said the weather was a big factor in the outcomes she and some of her teammates experienced, and she said, like Brockway, she was also nursing an injury.
“We competed to the best of our abilities and tried to take in as much critique from our coaches as we could,” she said.
Hutchison placed in all three of her events.
She finished fifth in long jump, increasing her mark there by 3.6 inches. She also placed seventh in triple jump.
Cates placed third in the 100-meter dash, clocking in with a personal record of 13.06. She also placed fifth in the 200 and ninth on the 4x400 relay team with Weaver, Shanniyah Hall and Kate Hughes.
Sophomore Abby Lusco had a sixth-place finish in discus (103-01).
Her brother Drew Lusco, a junior, finished fifth in discus (125-07) and eighth in shot put (44-02.75).
Dillon Towne of Glide won the discus event with a throw of 158-00, 21 feet farther than the next closest competitor.
This is Drew Lusco’s second year competing in discus, although he didn’t advance to the finals.
“I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make my PR, but pleased with where I placed in discus,” he said.
When Drew competed at the 2A district championships held at Grant Union on May 10, there almost wasn’t enough room in the shot put pit for his for his throw of 46-10.75, a personal best.
“I hope by next year I run out of sand,” he said. “It was good to be able to come back this season and do better than last year. I’m looking forward to improving more next season.”
The boys 4x100 team of sophomore Jordan Hall, sophomore Quaid Brandon, freshman Mason Morris and freshman Justin Hodge placed sixth with a time of 45.84.
Hall also placed 10th in the 110 hurdles, and Hodge finished 11th in the 100. Morris placed 11th in triple jump, and Mason Gerry, a junior, finished 11th in javelin.
Senior Tanner Elliott placed 11th in the 800.
This season, Smith is saying farewell to seven seniors.
“They will be missed by all of us,” she said.
Although the team will lose a lot of talent in the seniors, a new crop of freshmen are expected to move up to the high school level next season, possibly filling those shoes.
There are 46 athletes on the middle school team, and among the several who may join the high school ranks are Eli Wright, Kaylee’s younger brother, who is excelling in several events, including javelin.
He recently placed first in javelin with a throw of 146 at the May 7 Crane Middle School Meet. He was also first in high jump, clearing the bar at 5-04 and first in the 200 hurdles with a time of 29.04. All three events were personal bests for the eighth-grader.