EUGENE -- Despite all of the winning Tualatin senior Caleb Lakeman has done this track season, he was more wary than confident heading into the 3,000-meter final of the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 6A championships Friday at Hayward Field.
“I was like, ‘Oh man, I won all these races, so there’s definitely a target on my back, and people know exactly how I race,’” Lakeman said.
But as he has in other big races this season, Lakeman delivered with another clutch performance, using his trademark kick to overtake South Medford senior Michael Maiorano and win by .27 seconds.
Maiorano had seized control from the start against one of the strongest 3,000 fields in state history and led by about 40 meters going into the final lap.
Sitting back with the other runners tested Lakeman’s patience.
“My anxiety was definitely creeping up on me, and those fears were getting in my head, like, ‘Oh, what if we can’t catch him?’” Lakeman said. “But I was definitely very conscious during the race, and I was like, ‘Just trust in your training, you’re going to catch him eventually.’”
Maiorano liked his chances, though.
“I had a lot of faith that no one could close as fast as me if I went out that fast,” Maiorano said. “And I still believe that. … I used my coach on the back stretch and the scoreboard to kind of gauge how far back they were. And I thought I had it.”
With about 120 meters left, Lakeman moved up next to Franklin senior Charlie North. Then he emptied the tank in the last 60 meters.
“I turned it on and I had no gears left,” Lakeman said. “I wanted to just bury it. Probably the last 100, I could tell that he was fading back a little bit. So I was like, if me and Charlie make a really hard move to get up to Michael, I knew we would catch him.”
Lakeman had just enough real estate to reel in Maiorano, eclipsing him about 30 meters before the finish line. Lakeman finished in 8:13.31 to beat Maiorano (8:13.58) and North (8:14.24).
The exhausted Maiorano collapsed in a heap at the finish.
“Caleb must have closed insane the last 200 because he just barely got me,” Maiorano said.
It was another outstanding performance by Lakeman. He entered the meet with state’s best times in 3,000 (8:10.91) and 1,500 (3:49.08) but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I won all these races so now I’m guaranteed to win state,’” Lakeman said. “I was not thinking that at all. It doesn’t matter that I won all these races … It was kind of down to who wants it the most.”
Maiorano defended his aggressive strategy, saying he brought the “Pre mentality” to Hayward Field.
“The purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart,” Maiorano said. “I think I totally tested my limits. I’ve never thrown up after a race, I’ve never collapsed like that.”
Tigard senior Elijah Jackman punctuated his dramatic improvement this season with state titles in the shot and discus.
Jackman recorded a personal best in the shot of 59-3 ½ and threw the discus 175-7, off his best of 193-2. Entering the season, Jackson’s best marks were 49-1 and 152-8.
Other 6A winners were Glencoe junior Austin Stampflee in the long jump and Summit senior Gavin Fleck in the pole vault.
Crater junior Tyrone Gorze dominated the 3,000 meters, winning in 8:17.26. Freshman teammate Josiah Tostenson was second in 8:27.70.
Gorze was off his personal best of 8:11.60.
“I was shooting obviously for a PR, but winning is definitely more important,” said Gorze, who won the 1,500 in the 5A meet last year and added the 5A cross country title last fall. “I’ll take this win, but there’s still lots of room for improvement.”
Churchill senior Nathan Fields won the long jump. He will go for a repeat title in the triple jump Saturday.
Silverton got titles from seniors Sam Willis in the discus and Orie Schaffers in the shot.
Astoria senior Colton McMaster, the 4A Showcase champion in the shot and discus last year, picked up 4A titles in both events Friday.
McMaster won the discus with a throw of 177-0 and came back a few hours later to take the shot in 55-0 ¾.
“I’m always more nervous for the discus just because it’s less consistent,” McMaster said. “I can have a bad series, and that’s the way it can be. I’m fortunate enough to have my bad ones be good enough to get me where I need to be. I’m so much more consistent with the shot.”
Marshfield loaded up on points in the pole vault, going 1-3-4.
Pirates sophomore Jonathon Parks won by clearing 14-9, beating Henley senior Andrew Edwards (14-6). Marshfield sophomore Danner Wilson (14-3) and junior Trent Summers (14-0), the 4A Showcase champion last year, finished third and fourth, respectively.
Parks was leading at 14-6 before making it over 14-9 on his last try. He missed on three attempts at 15-1.
Parks said the teammates lean on one another.
“It really gets mentally draining, so when you get to the big competitions, it really makes it worth it,” he said. “When we get here, we just try to push each other as much as possible, because we want them to clear the bar just as much as we want ourselves to clear the bar.”
Henley junior Eli Hayes, the champion in the triple jump last year, won the long jump. Phoenix senior Elwood Hosking claimed the title in the 3,000.
Oregon City junior Sophia Beckmon added to her state record in the long jump by winning in 20-1 ½, the first 20-foot jump by an Oregon high school girl.
Beckmon first set the state record last July in the Nike Outdoor Nationals at Hayward Field, going 19-10 ¼, and increased it to 19-11 this season. But the 20-foot barrier remained, until Friday.
“I’m a very goal-oriented person, and when I get a goal, it’s a big deal for me,” Beckmon said. “So I was very, very happy, very emotional. I actually cried, but I’m good now.”
Beckmon got the 20-foot jump on her last attempt.
“I heard some people going, ‘Whoa,’ when I finished the jump,” she said. “Usually when you hear that, you know it’s a good jump. But when I looked back, I couldn’t really tell. I wasn’t expecting 20 feet.”
Beckmon said the clap from the crowd before her final jump made a difference.
“I decided for the longest time not doing the clap because I felt like it just kept making me lose focus,” she said. “But recently I realized that I feel like I need that now.”
Encouragement from fans and friends also provided some juice.
“A bunch of people before this meet texted me, saying ‘Good luck today,’” she said. “And I knew that they were all watching and I wanted to do it for them and myself.”
She said reaching 20 feet reminded her of setting the record at Hayward Field last year.
“It’s definitely a very similar feeling, other than last year I felt like I was smiling my way through that entire meet, and this time it was more like I need to stay focused, I need to get a little more serious,” she said.
Lake Oswego senior Kate Peters led a high-energy 3,000 meters as the top three finishers all broke the state meet record.
Peters finished in 9:25.15 to beat Franklin senior Kaiya Robertson (9:28.72) and Wells senior Charlotte Richman (9:31.43). They all were faster than the previous record of 9:32.08, set by South Eugene’s Erin Clark in 2013.
“I pretty much just went from the gun,” said Peters, the reigning 6A cross country champion. “I went out in a five-minute pace and just tried to keep it up. I blew up a little bit at the end, not too bad. But it’s hard because there’s no one out there to push me or anything.”
Peters’ time narrowly missed the all-time state record of 9:24.86, set by Grant’s Ella Donaghu in 2016.
“It felt pretty fast,” Peters said. “The laps felt short, and I just kept going around. I think just because it’s Hayward Field.”
Lincoln junior Nicole Prall defended her title in the pole vault by clearing 12-6. Central Catholic junior Kyeese Hollands won the javelin.
In prelims, Lake Oswego sophomore Mia Brahe-Pedersen set meet records in the 100 (11.66) and 200 (23.33) and Oregon City senior Harley Daniel set a meet record in the 100 hurdles (14.05).
Crescent Valley freshman Emily Wisniewski, who won the 5A cross country title in the fall, won the 3,000 by more than eight seconds in 10:03.76.
Thurston junior Breanna Raven accomplished the first half of what she hopes is a double by winning the long jump with a leap of 18-0. She will go for a second title Saturday in the triple jump, an event in which she has 5A’s best mark this season.
Ridgeview freshman Zowie Nunes won the javelin with a throw of 138-2, narrowly edging Wilsonville freshman Kylie Fox (137-0).
Nunes’ previous best was 121-5.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it,” Nunes said. “It was fun. Great experience.”
Crater junior Clara Bennett took the high jump.
Cascade senior Emma Gates easily won the high jump at 5-11, but came up short in three attempts at the state record of 6-1 (Rachel Proteau, West Albany, 2013).
Gates, whose best is 6-0 1/4, is third on the all-time list. She still has the summer to go after the record.
"I’m getting closer and closer, so hopefully, sometime soon I can do the 6-1 mark,” the Arizona-bound Gates said, later adding, “Just keep doing what I’m doing, a little more speed, a little more up, hopefully I’ll get it.”
Gates made it over 5-11 on her first try before attempting 6-1 ¼.
Also claiming titles Friday were Phoenix senior Sophia Stubblefield (3,000), Philomath senior Sage Kramer (javelin) and Molalla senior Elizabeth Grandle (long jump).