By Jerod Young • Jerod Young • 

West Valley teams sending 21 athletes, four relays to state

The Sheridan boys finished sixth (the girls were fifth) at Saturday’s district meet, but it was the performance of freshman Miguel Diaz that had Sheridan coach Barb Justen excited about Diaz’s decision to run track. Friday, Diaz took second in the 3000-meter run final with a time of 9 minutes, 47.15 seconds. The finish punched Diaz’s ticket to the 3A state championships, which starts Thursday in Eugene.

Justen said Diaz focused his attention towards playing junior varsity baseball for the last few months, but began running track as a means of staying in shape for baseball.

Diaz began running the 3000 run and Justen said it wasn’t until he started having early-season success in the event that he realized he could be good and should consider running track for more than just exercise.

“It is exciting and just amazing to think what he did and can do,” Justen said. “Hopefully this will grab him and help him realize this is what he can do. To be a freshman and compete on Hayward Field is incredible.”

Long-time senior veteran Rich Fettig of Westside Christian beat Diaz by five seconds. Fettig immediately went over and gave the freshman a handshake and congratulated him on making it to state.

Fettig said he was very surprised at how Diaz picked up ground and speed and made it a genuine race at the final 200 meters.

“That was incredible,” Fettig said of Diaz. “For only a freshman, he is so fast. He ran an unbelievable race.”

Diaz said he’s been working long, hard hours to improve his form and time in the 3000 run. He said he felt like the work he’s put in has finally paid off and said he is excited to go to the state championships as a freshman.

“It’s great. I’ve been working really hard for this,” Diaz said. “I’ve looked up to those guys (Fettig and Amity’s Shane Miles) and now to be able to compete and beat some of them is great.”

Sheridan’s Peyton James is also headed to state after finishing second in the pole vault after clearing 10 feet, 6 inches. Mackenzie Hall will compete in the high jump after winning the high jump. Sarah Simpson took second in the pole vault by clearing seven feet.

Diaz isn’t the only freshman headed for the bright lights of Hayward Field.

Amity’s Lindsay McShane will go to state in both the shot put and discus but had some controversy as Saturday came to a close. Officials originally calculated that Sheridan’s Briana Potter placed second in the shot put, but they realized their calculation mistake as awards were being handed out.

The correction was made and McShane was awarded second, sending her to state in a second event.

“I am super, super excited,” McShane said. “I was really worried it was only going to be because of a few inches. I’m just glad I got there.”

On the boys side for Amity, Taylor Miles and Kyle Hayes are headed to state as well. Miles took first in the 300 hurdles with a time of 42.28 and second in the 110 hurdles at 16.46. Miles will also be on the Warriors’ 4x100 and 4x400 team that made it to state. Hayes goes to state in two events after finishing first in the discus with a throw of 145 feet and second in the shot put.

“I’m very happy. We had a lot of kids on the bubble,” Magill said. “I was happy to see our relay teams do well. I think if the weather would have been nicer, a lot more kids would’ve qualified.”

The Dayton Pirates had an all-around successful district meet with the home-crowd advantage.

Luke Wildhaber took first in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles. In all, Wildhaber will go to the state championships in three events: both hurdles and the javelin after throwing 145 feet for second.

“I feel pretty good,” Wildhaber said. “I feel pretty accomplished. This was a good way to end my senior year.”

Kevin Castillo won the shot put, and Micah Cisneros won the pole vault to earn trips to state.

Mireya Vazquez is headed to the championships after finishing second in the 800 along with Katey Harris (second) in the 1500.

Sydney Mohler qualified for four events and is going to state in the long jump, 4x100 relay, the 100- and 300 hurdles.

“Four events at state sounds good to me,” Mohler said.

Dayton’s Katrina Irvin took first in the pole vault, and Maddie Shirley finished first in the discus and will also be on the Pirates 4x100 relay team at the state championships.

“We wanted to get kids to state,” Dayton coach Scott Spink said. “That’s what drove us to place the right kids in the right events. I was all about where kids would perform their best.”

Willamina qualified three athletes for state: Brook Wilson in the shot put and javelin, Leticia Cozar in the 400 and Kasey Anderson in the high jump. Cozar took second with a time of 1:05.63, Anderson took second with a jump of 4-10, and Wilson won the shot put with a throw of 36-07 and took second in the javelin.

The 3A state championships begin at approximately 10 a.m. Thursday at Hayward Field. The finals begin Friday morning.

Notes: Westside Christian won boys and girls team scoring titles.

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