By Doug Binder • Doug Binder • 

Three McMinnville throwers headed to North Carolina

Tatton made the transition from McMinnville High track and field team to McMinnville Track Club athlete and a series of summer competitions. He notched a school record in the discus, and he explored a new event, the hammer.

“I took no time off (after state),” Tatton said. “I started the next week throwing.”

The reward for his dedication comes next week. On Saturday he and club teammate Amber Bonds will fly to North Carolina for the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships. A few days later, another teammate, Luke Mannix, will join them.

Those three McMinnville Track Club athletes — all throwers — will vie for titles with athletes from all 50 states. They qualified by placing top-five in their events at the regional meet in Seattle.

The throws group at McMinnville has gained strong reputation in recent years. Alyssa Hasslen, one of the state’s all-time greats, will represent the U.S. at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month. Ariel Oliver parlayed her throwing success at McMinnville into a scholarship to San Diego State, where she completed her freshman year.

Those examples are not lost on McMinnville’s current throwers.

Hasslen, in particular, is an inspiration.

“Yeah a bit,” Tatton said. “I grew up throwing with her through the track club here and she was really good. So I wanted to be really good, too.”

Tatton is making his mark on the McMinnville record book. He broke the discus record last month at a meet in Sandy, throwing 162 feet. That was a big PR for him. The old Mac record was 159-7, set by Josh Armstrong in 2006.

Tatton also achieved a new PR in the hammer in Seattle at the USATF Region 13 Championships, 161-9. Unofficially, since Oregon high schools don’t include hammer, that is a school record too.To top it off, Tatton is close to the school record in the javelin as well, with a best this year of 176-1 (The record is 177-5 by Daniel Harmon in 2008).

Tatton will compete in all three of those events in the men’s 17-18 age group at the USATF meet in Greensboro, N.C.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the competition and going against some of the best (throwers) in the country,” he said.

Bonds and Mannix are both new to the sport but have picked it up quickly and are improving with almost every chance to compete.

Bonds came out for the McMinnville track team with a friend and discovered she liked it. She has set and reset PRs over recent weeks and is getting closer to McMinnville’s all-time top 10 list after throwing 103-5 in the discus last weekend at Eugene. Bonds qualified for nationals in the hammer.

Mannix enjoyed his first season as a JV thrower at McMinnville so much that he decided to stick it out into the summer and keep working on it. He has thrown the discus 121 feet and will compete in that event at nationals.

“I have had a lot of improvement,” Mannix said. “It’s my first year so I’m just learning new things. I’m going to try to get better.”

Fueled by the coaching brain trust of Corey Medeiros (discus), Garry Angus (shot put), Chris Logsdon (javelin) and Randy Hayes of the Amity Track Club (hammer), the throwers are getting focused instruction.

“The coaching has helped a lot,” Tatton said. “Corey Medeiros has helped a lot.”

Medeiros has expertise across the throws and was instrumental in the development of Hasslen when she was coming up.

The throws group sometimes divides its workouts between time spent at the McMinnville track and hammer instruction with Hayes during evening hours at Linfield (which has a hammer cage).

The club disbanded for the summer on Wednesday with a team meeting and ice cream at the high school. A total of 42 kids, ages 8-17 participated in the McMinnville Track Club this summer in a wide variety of events.

“Everybody on the team got (at least) one PR this year,” club organizer Karen Angus said. “That’s something they can work toward again for next year.”

Notes: There is a club fund-raising drive today to help defray some of the travel costs of the three athletes competing in North Carolina. A can and bottle drive is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the corner of 15th and Highway 99 in the AutoZone parking lot. Donations can also be made to the McMinnville Track Club at P.O. Box 1372, McMinnville, OR 97128.

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