Benson, Mohler win state championships for Dayton
Suddenly, Benson sprinted down the runway and let loose the final throw of her high school career. It was a good one, she knew, but she had to wait 30 seconds for the marshals to measure. The anticipation grew. Benson was in third place in the competition, and her mark would determine the outcome.
“135 feet, 7 inches,” the javelin marshal said.
Benson broke out into a huge smile that couldn’t be contained. She had successfully defended her title in the girls javelin, and she went out in storybook fashion.
“To hit that last throw on the last one I’m ever going to throw is pretty amazing,” Benson said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Benson had never thrown more than 130 feet in competition, but she needed to Thursday. In the process, she broke the Dayton school record. She said she had to mentally compose herself or she would have broken down.
“I had to tell myself to go out and do the best I could, I guess,” she said. “It was almost, deep breath, don’t think about it and throw and whatever happens, happens.
“It’s definitely a great way to end senior year.”
Benson’s performance was one of two state championships won over the weekend by Yamhill County high school athletes. Dayton Junior Sydney Mohler entered the 3A girls high jump seeded second, but she produced four marks that were better than her personal best, including a 17 foot, 1 ¼ mark that easily won her the competition.
“I peaked at the perfect time,” Mohler said.
Dayton coach Scott Spink said Mohler worked out during the winter, preparing for track. She came into the spring in great shape and kept producing big marks. All that hard work paid off, as Mohler won the long jump, finished second in the girls 100-meter hurdles, was fifth in the 300 hurdles and helped the Dayton 4x100-meter relay team to a third-place finish.
“Sydney had a great meet,” Spink said.
“I wouldn’t say (I was) perfect because perfect would be all golds,” Mohler said, “but it went well. I’m proud of myself, and I’m proud of my teammates, and I’m proud of my relay team.”
The Dayton girls track team finished the two-days in fifth place. Besides Mohler and Benson scoring big points for the Pirates, Maddie Shirley scored one point in the discus with an eighth-place finish.
Mireya Vazquez was 10th in the 800, the girls 4x400 relay was ninth, Katey Harris was 10th in the 1,500, and Karina Irvin was ninth in the pole vault.
“We had a great meet,” Spink said. “We’re very happy with what everyone did.”
The Dayton boys also scored a few points at state. Senior Luke Wildhaber threw 155-6 in the javelin and finished third. Wildhaber picked up the javelin midway through this season and quickly turned into a state-caliber thrower. Wildhaber also finished sixth in the 110 hurdles and seventh in the 300 hurdles.
“It’s been a good ride,” said Wildhaber, who also competed at state last year in the 800. “For my senior year, this was a good way to end it.”
Micah Cisneros finished fifth in the pole vault, and Kevin Castillo was sixth in the shot put.
Amity also had a handful of competitors in Eugene. Senior Taylor Miles finished fourth in the 110 hurdles, and he was sixth in the 300 hurdles. Miles also anchored Amity’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The 4x400 finished seventh, though the 4x100 was disqualified for a handoff that happened outside of the designated zone.
Kyle Hayes medaled in the discus with a throw of 140-1.
“That’s his first state medal for his career,” Amity coach Joel Magill said, “and that’s good because he’s been so close the last couple of years.”
Amity freshman Lindsay McShane also had a good meet, finishing fourth in the 3A girls shot put and discus. She threw 112-1 in the discus and 35-5 ½ in the shot put, impressing her coach.
“It’s easy as a freshman to come here and cave,” Magill said, “but she handled the pressure and threw like a veteran honestly. She threw like she had a lot of confidence.”
Sheridan’s Miguel Diaz finished seventh in the boys 3,000 in 9:49.02, and Mackenzie Hall finished third in the girls high jump.
Willamina senior Brook Wilson finished sixth in the girls shot put and sixth in the javelin. Freshman Kasey Anderson was sixth in the high jump.