Breaking the ice on the track
Team leaders Sydney Mohler and Julianne Benson stood above the pack to help Dayton to 89.5 points and a second-place finish behind Westside Christian, who took first with 144 points.
The two started the afternoon together in the 4x100-meter relay and helped the Pirates to a second-place finish. The two joined together to end the meet in the 4x400 relay, and Dayton again took second.
“Our kids did pretty well today,” Dayton coach Scott Spink said. “I think the one thing I’ve taken away from today is that this has become a very tough league. For a first meet, there have been some impressive marks.”
Benson began her day in the 100-meter dash and finished fourth with a time of 14 seconds, but finished her individual day taking first in the javelin throw with a distance of 108 feet.
At the time, Benson didn’t know it was the best distance of the day.
She said she was happy to be able to be outside and compete in another season of track. This was the first time in Benson’s four years that she took part in the 4x400 relay.
“It’s new for me, and was kind of one of those last minute things,” Benson said. “I haven’t worked that much on distance, I just worked more with short sprints.”
Mohler, a junior, opened eyes. Aside from the relays to start and end the meet, it was her individual performance that impressed.
She edged out Colton’s Paige Lindstrom by one second in the 100-meter hurdles for the win. Mohler finished eighth in this event at the state championships.
“Three stepping has been a challenge for me this year” Mohler said. “It’s really hard because I’m short, not tall, and have never three-steeped a race. I was kind of shaky because I’ve never three stepped a full 10 hurdles.”
Mohler also won the long jump. Something she said she thought she wasn’t going to be able to do. When she found out she cleared over 15-meters, she said she’s never come close to that distance.
She said she’s been working coach Hal Tanaka on improving in the event. Mohler said Tanaka pushed her to be better and has helped to improve her performance.
Spink said he was very impressed with Mohler’s afternoon. He said what surprised him about Mohler was that she refused to take any down time during the winter, and it’s helped get her to this point.
“She’s been working out all winter,” Spink said. “She looked good, really good. She wants to three-step and she did okay with that today. Overall, we all had a pretty good day.”
Wildhaber’s first shot at 800
After falling at the state championships, Dayton’s Luke Wildhaber got his first chance to vindicate the bad memories from a few short months ago at the West Valley League Icebreaker on his home track, helping the Dayton boys to a fourth place, 76-point finish.
At the state championship, Wildhaber led through the first lap of the boys 800-meter final. In the home stretch he was trying to hold on to second place when the unthinkable happened. He fell.Wildhaber was able to gather himself and finish the race in seventh place, scoring one point for Dayton.
“I was running way fast, I got 15 meters from the finish line, my legs locked up and I fell,” Wildhaber said. “The fall was a big motivator for me. I was disappointed in myself, but did all I could and still beat two people.”
Wildhaber said he had to quickly forget about what happen, and said it was the soccer season that helped complete the healing process.
Wildhaber competed in the 800, the 110 hurdles, and both relays Thursday. He took second in the 800, and second in the hurdles behind Amity’s Taylor Miles. The Pirates finished in third in both relays.
Wildhaber said it wasn’t his most impressive start to the track season, but admitted he gave it all he had.
“I tried my best,” Wildhaber said. “You can only do so much in a day. We all had a solid day, and did well with what we had.”
Sheridan’s sneaking up the ‘must-watch’ list
Senior Briana Potter did exactly what she said she going to do.
She wasn’t happy with her discus throw to open the West Valley League Icebreaker at Dayton, so Potter made a declaration of sorts.
She said she would forget about it, and go on to not just win the shot put, but also break her record.
“It was okay, but I can do better,” said Potter of her second-place discus throw of 98-08. “I look to beat my record and go on to state like I usually do.”
Potter did both.
She finished first in the event, and set a personal best with a throw of 35-01. Potter said she hasn’t taken any time off and said she hopes to go further at the state championships.
Potter finished seventh in the girls shot put last year.
Aside from Potter, Sheridan sophomore Mackenzie Hall also had a good opening meet. Hall competed in the 800, high jump, and long jump. Hall took first in her first event of the day, the high jump. She cleared 4 feet, 8 inches for the win.
“It felt really, really good,” Hall said. “I’ve never cleared that before. It was pretty exciting.”
Hall finished third in the long jump, and sixth in the 800.
There were other Sheridan teammates that excelled. Sarah Simpson took first in the pole vault with a 6-foot vault. Sean Button and Peyton James tied for first on the boys side in the event at 8 feet, 6 inches.
Kordell Sorenson won the javelin with a throw just over 142 feet.
“I was really happy with the overall competitive attitude,” Sheridan assistant track coach Al Ashcroft said. “We’ve been working really hard to get to this point. Really good efforts today.”
Boardman and Wilson shine for Willamina Bulldogs
Riley Boardman brings an experience to the Bulldogs few athletes get to have: The Junior Olympics. Boardman has competed in the javelin, shot put, and discus on the junior team. He is the athlete both in height and skill, other Willamina track athletes look up to.
“We have a lot of freshman on this team,” Willamina coach Heather Hughes said. “It’s important for them to have someone who will be in the top three to look up to.”
His best event of the day was the discus. He took third with a throw of 110 feet.
Boardman finished fifth in the javelin throw with a throw of 124 feet, and his throw of 33 feet in the shot put placed 10th.
Senior Brook Wilson was strong on the girls side.
Wilson has competed in the state championships the last two consecutive years. She also holds Willamina’s school record in the javelin. She took third in the shot put, and second in the javelin.
Wilson is fresh off of a trip to state basketball tournament that took Willamina to the state semifinal round.
Wilson said she hasn’t had much time to focus on getting into track shape yet.
“I haven’t been out much this season, it’s my first meet,” Wilson said. “This is my fourth day that I’ve been involved with the team, so it’s been a quick transition.”