EUGENE – On Thursday, Adrian junior sprinter Jace Martin foreshadowed what was to come when he set a meet record of 10.99 in the 100-meter dash in a 1A heat at the OSAA / OnPoint Community Credit Union Track & Field State Championships at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.
On Friday, he won the 100 and 200 and participated on two winning relays, sparking the Antelopes to the 1A boys team title.
His older brother, senior Conley Martin, also was part of the winning relays and placed second individually in the sprints.
For good measure, their sister, freshman Addy Martin, made her state meet debut by matching Jace with wins in the 100 and 200 and both relays.
Addy Martin said that she was inspired to run her best by the memory of Adrian track coach Ray Uriarte, who passed away from a heart attack in February at age 70.
“We really wanted to go out and do well for him,” she said. “He was really special to us.”
The Martin trio got their day started with wins in the 4x100. Addy anchored the girls. Jace ran the second leg and Conley the fourth for the boys, who set a state meet record time of 43.82 seconds.
“I ran second because my coach puts me there,” Jace said. “Run in a straight line they tell me and I do it.”
With Adrian such a heavy favorite in the race, the team could concentrate on other things, like record setting (provided they took care of the hand offs, of course).
“We talked about it beforehand,” Jace said. “We were pushing for the school record, which was 44.11. We had tied it but wanted to beat it. When they announced the record, it was crazy! So fun for us! I’m the only junior. Everyone else [Riley Griffin; Gavin Bayes] is a senior. We’ve been running this race together since the sixth grade. It’s cool to finally get the state record. It’s amazing.”
The 100-meter dash finals followed, with both Addy and Jace winning their first individual titles. Conley won the 100 over Jace in the culminating meet last year, but Jace took advantage of Conley’s stumble out of the blocks to win going away this year.
“I’m a little disappointed in the time but pretty proud of it,” said Conley, of his ability to recover for second place.
“I consider myself pretty lucky that the best competition I have sleeps in the room right across the hallway,” Jace said. “It’s pretty cool for me. He pushes me a lot and helps me pr. It’s a pretty good thing we have going.”
Addy and Jace added to their haul with wins in the 200. Jace matched his state meet record time of 22.35 to best his big brother by half a second, which was a personal record for Conley.
“It’s such an honor to be running at this track, where Olympians compete,” Jace said. “I’m just trying to soak it all up and enjoy it.”
Conley said that watching Addy excel was wonderful.
“She started off the season a little slow, because she hadn’t gotten the opportunity to run track the past couple of years because of Covid,” he explained. “Watching her improve every single meet is awesome.”
Addy was asked whether she feel pressure because of what her brothers have accomplished.
“Yes, but at the same time no,” she answered. “I just want to go out there and run my race and do what I can. My brothers will go out and be awesome too.”
Addy added that everyone – family and friends – have all been really supportive.
Oh, there’s a fourth Martin, a girl who’s 10-years-old. She inherits the same gene pool from her parents, who themselves were both sprinters.
“She’s not fast right now but she definitely will be,” Addy said.
The most exciting race on Friday might have been the 2A boys 300 meter hurdles, where both sophomore Lucas Curry of Delphian and junior Bo Ledbetter of Union fell across the finish line while trying to lean at the end. It looked like a dead heat to the naked eye. Thirty seconds after the race ended, while the officials studied the pictures, the track announcer told the fans, “We still don’t know.”
Then came the announcement: Curry, whose previous personal record was 43.33, had won in a time of 41.689, one-one thousandth of a second faster than Ledbetter, who previous best time had been 43.34.
Several minutes elapsed before a second announcement was made.
“We have looked at the pictures and determined that Bo Ledbetter is the winner.”
The official winning time was 41.69. Curry’s time was adjusted downward to 41.70.
Determining the winner proved a challenge because both runners fell across the finish line.
“At the end there I was trying to lean as far as I could there,” Ledbetter said. “It worked out for me.”
Ledbetter said that he had no idea who’d won on the race track.
“He fell. I fell. I didn’t know.”
When Curry was initially announced as the winner, Ledbetter said that he was upset but happy for Curry at the same time.
“It’s competitions, o there has to be a winner and has to be a loser,” he explained.
Then the change was announced.
“It’s hard to explain the emotions I was going through when they changed it,” Ledbetter said. “I was so excited, so happy.”
On Thursday, Catlin Gabel senior Megan Cover won the 3000 meter run by more than 22 seconds. One day later, she found herself in a head-to-head battle in the homestretch with Burns senior Riley Morris. Morris led almost until the end, when Cover passed her in the final five meters to win, officially, by three hundredths of a second.
The two said they went out too fast.
“I thought it would be more of a chill race and was dying at the end,” Cover said.
Morris said that she didn’t expect to be leading most of the race.
“I figured I’m just going to stay with her and see how it goes,” Morris explained. “I wasn’t prepared to lead, so it caught me off guard. I thought I’m going to get drafted off of this entire race. I decided to kick it a little earlier than anticipated. With about 400 meters to go I thought, ‘I got this!’ and I look over to my left and see Megan.”
“There’s no thoughts,” Cover said about her effort to pass in the last few meter. “It’s all just drive. It’s just run run run. I don’t think. Something just overtakes me. Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn’t.”
Cover won in 5:00.14. Morris was originally credited with finishing in 5:00.16, but it adjusted officially to 5:00.17, a personal record for her by 16 seconds.
“I was pretty disappointed I lost by two hundredths of a second,” Morris admitted. “But no one deserves it more than Megan. I’m just glad I got the opportunity to race her and pr.”
“We hit that last 400 and I was like, ‘Oh man, this is going to be a battle to the end’ and it really was,” Cover said. “Riley was amazing. She deserves No. 1 just as much as I did.”
Coquille senior Gunner Yates was the favorite to win a state 2A title in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. After qualifying first on Thursday in the 100 in a personal record time of 11.09, Yates, the record-setting running back for the Red Devils, was set to run in a 400 preliminary later that day. He ran just a few steps before heading for the tunnel, on the advice of his coach, perhaps because he was nursing an injury. Yates subsequently was disqualified for the rest of the meet for “not giving an honest effort.”
Without Yates, Coquille 4x100 relay team went from being the prohibitive favorite to uncertainty. The Red Devils answered the uncertainty by winning anyway, behind the team of Brock Willis, Drake Watts, Riley Jones and anchor Godfred Amonoo.
“Gunner was very sad but had a lot of faith in us that we could do this,” Amonoo said. “We believed we could do it without him because he believed we could do it.”
Pine Eagle freshman Ella Randall dominated the 1A girls shot put, winning by more than two feet over Adrian senior Allyssa Dudley. Her first put went over 35 feet, which was enough to win. Her best put came in the third round of prelims. It measured 36-8 1/2.
“I just got up there, took a deep breath and thought of what my coaches said,” Randall explained. “Speed was the main goal to use to get far enough. I put everything together and it worked great.”
Randall’s state title was surprising considering that, before this year, the ranch girl hadn’t competed in the event since sixth grade, opting for softball instead, where she pitched and caught. Pine Eagle, situated near the Idaho border in the eastern part of the state, doesn’t offer softball – not enough girls – so Randall decided to go out for track again.
Randall came to State with the best 1A throw on record, a put over 38 feet on April 1, but she dismissed it as “an adrenaline throw.” She didn’t know what she could accomplish until she went to the District meet.
“At Districts, I thought, ‘I’m just going to try my hardest and do the best I can,’” she said. “I won and I was like, ‘Whoa! I’m going to State now; the big stuff.’ And I’m here and I’m state 1A champ. I can’t believe it at all. I never thought it was a possibility.”
Condon senior Kallyn Wilkins won the 1A 3000 meter run on Thursday by more than 30 seconds. On Friday, she raced in the 1,500 against St. Stephen’s Academy senior Olyvia Oeverman, in what was Oeverman’s signature race. The duo came into the state meet with the two best times in the 1,500. The runners were expecting the winner to be decided in a stretch run.
Wilkins set the pace from the gun, with Oeverman settling in behind her in a lead pack of four. By the second pass by the finish line, Wilkins and Oeverman had separated themselves from everyone else.
One hundred meters later, Oeverman decided to make her move, passing Wilkins on the back straightaway.
“One of my coaches gave me that strategy right before the race and said the third lap was hardest mentally for others to keep up,” Oeverman explained. “If you can make that move, other runners trying to keep up might give up. I decided to make that move.”
Wilkins had no response.
“The race is so mental,” Oeverman said. “I felt good. I didn’t run at all yesterday so I was fresh today. It might have played a part in it.”
Oeverman, who would later double by winning the 800 over Presley Speelmon of Adrian, bested Wilkins by five seconds.
“This is my senior year and I’m not planning to run next year,” Oeverman said. “Winning this to finish off my high school career strong was so fun with family and friends here. This is the best way I could have finished.”
Sheridan senior Randy Gibson had never high jumped higher than 6-1 before Friday, but he got over the bar at 6-3 on his final attempt to edge Glide senior Clay Mornarich, who otherwise would have won on a tiebreaker.
Gibson’s win was a study in perseverance, as the Spartan needed three attempts to clear the bar at 6-0, 6-2 AND 6-3.
Gibson said that all those misses gave him confidence, because he knew that he was close.
“I just had to fix my form,” he explained.
Gibson, who said he’d been working hard all season to get a personal record jump, described what he did to make over at 6-3.
“I was standing there, looking at the bar and focusing,” he said. “’You’ve been working for this all season. You’re here right now. Let’s get it.’”
“I got it. It feels great.”
De La Salle North Catholic sophomore Mia Rhodes is an inspiration. She broke her clavicle after a fall during Thursday’s 100 meter dash heat, a race she was leading before her spill. On Friday, with a sling harnessing her right arm to her body, Rhodes ran the anchor leg of her team’s 4x100 relay, being cheered for her courage the entire way by the Hayward Stadium crowd. Rhodes explained her decision to compete:
“My teammate could not run the 100 and 200 if we didn’t run the 4x100 so that’s what we did,” she said. “I was in a lot of pain.”
Rhodes, who had the fourth fastest time in both the 100 and 200 in 3A coming into the state meet, faces a six-week recovery.
She will be buoyed in her rehab by this: her teammate, sophomore DaNasia Stephens, won both the 100 and 200!
Junior Benjamin Lammers of Westside Christian uncorked a throw of 156-11 in his first effort in the 3A javelin to lead by more than 14 feet. No one would come within five feet of that throw, which he improved on by almost four feet on his fourth effort and by exactly four feet on his fifth.
“My first couple of throws I like to get a comfortable cushion and then from there I can go all out, all energy,” he explained.
Lammers said that he hoped to throw 170 feet but was okay with a throw 10 feet shorter, especially with a stiff breeze in his face the whole time.
“This is big,” he said. “I’ve been working really hard in this off-season and during this season to build up to this moment right here.”
Sophomore Joshua Widdows of Catlin Gabel was trying to make a name for himself. His older brother, Elijah, who also competes in track, is known for being an exceptional soccer player for the many-time state-champion Eagles. After qualifying second in Thursday’s preliminaries, Joshua Widdows got his opportunity on Friday in the 110 meter high hurdles.
Widdows dominated the race, defeating first-place qualifier Jayden Christy of Santiam Christian by almost eight-tenths of a second. Widdows’ winning time of 15.27 was a personal record.
[Warning, tech talk to come, track nerds rejoice]
“I got a little bit nervous because when I was driving I was hovering too much in the air,” Widdows said. “So after the fifth hurdle I realized I needed to step quick harder. Then I kept going and going. I ended up finishing first.”
“My goal was to break the school record of 15.51 and I did it,” he added.
Senior Kaiden Krieger, of 1A Powder Valley, won three races on Friday: the 400-meter dash and both hurdles events. Krieger won the 300 hurdles easily; pulled away to win the 110 hurdles when his chief competition, Elijah Wytcherley of Glendale, fell over the second to last hurdle; and won the 400 in a personal best time of 50.79 seconds.
He said the 400 was by far the toughest to win.
“It’s hard to sprint for 50 seconds,” he explained. “That’s what it is.”
Krieger explained his strategy for the 400:
“Get out of the blocks as fast as I can, get past everybody and stride out, then come around the corner with everything I had. The last hundred I’m hanging on. It’s a struggle but the fans get you through it.”
Krieger said that his last race, the 300-meter hurdles, felt good from the start. That win was the most satisfying.
“I’ve been training for that since freshman year,” he explained.
In other action of note, North Douglas junior Ray Gerard was sitting in fourth place, almost seven feet behind leader Luke Nelson of North Clackamas Christian, with one throw to go in the 1A boys javelin.
It drew gasps as the javelin sailed and sailed, to a personal record of 164-11. Gerard, who won by almost five feet, also captured the discus throw, his best event, with a personal record of 146-11.
Colin Friend of St. Stephen’s Academy won the 1A boys 1,500 to add to his 3000-meter win the day before. Zac Knapp of Enterprise did likewise in 2A. So, too, did Zander Moha of Warrenton in 3A. Moha had to break free from a pack on the back straightaway to win on Friday, much like he did in the 3000 the day before.
Gavin Cougle of St. Mary’s, Medford, dominated the sprints in boys 3A. The state record holder in the 100 ran 11.0 in the final at Hayward and 21.95, just shy of her personal record, to win the 200.
Senior Emma Miller of Neah-Kah-Nie had a big day Friday, winning the 100 and 200, as well as the 100-meter hurdles. It looked like sophomore Olivia Boyd of Gervais would win the hurdle event, but she hit the third-to-last hurdle hard, which caused enough of a stumble for Miller to get past her.
Willamina junior Hallee Hughes, who won the 3A discus and javelin on Thursday, fell short of her quest for the throwing hat trick, taking third in the shot put.
Senior Miguel Ramos of Brookings-Harbor edged Malcom Grant of Catlin Gabel in the 3A boys 400-meter sprint, a race that was notable because of the hard fall Ramos took after the finish line. There were a lot of athletes falling after the 400, because the race is so demanding.
Junior Caleb Ness of Santiam Christian snuck past Nyssa junior Orin Stipe in the last few strides to win the 3A boys 300-meter hurdles.
Senior Hannah Finch of Heppner passed Santiam freshman Averie Peterson in the last 20 meters to win the girls 2A 800-meter race.
Sophomore Mikenzy Rosen, of Horizon Christian, Tualatin, held off Yamhill-Carlton senior Elizabeth Hetzler in the girls 3A 800-meter race. It looked like Rosen might be passed in the last straight, but she summoned enough energy to hang on at the end.
Senior Mike Hart of Catlin Gabel passed La Pine junior Wyatt Montgomery with 200 meter to go in a competitive boys 3A 800-meter race, then fought to hold off Montgomery and his La Pine teammate, Mason Kidman, over the last 100 meters.
La Pine senior Stephen Machin added to his Thursday win in the 3A boys shot put by destroying the field to win the discus on Friday.
In the team competition, Adrian won boys 1A, Bandon captured 2A and Catlin Gabel was impressive in taking 3A.
Damascus Christian held off Adrian to win the girls 1A team title, Coquille won 2A and Nyssa, which placed second in the final event – the 4x400 relay – to earn eight points, overcame St. Mary’s, Medford, 71.5 to 70. The Nyssa relay team consisted of Gracie Johnson, Ella Draper, Kate Vineyard and Asbel Tellez Jaquez.
For complete results, go to https://live.athletictiming.net/meets/16726.