Oregon City's win in the girls division of the prestigious Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays on Friday provided a good measuring stick for a star-studded Pioneers team that is laser-focused on pursuing a 6A championship.
Highlighted by the performance of junior Sophia Beckmon, who added to her state record in the long jump, Oregon City scored 61 points to finish ahead of Summit (49.5), Jesuit (49), West Linn (37), Tahoma, Wash. (37), Tualatin (34) and Central Catholic (30).
The Pioneers, winners of the season-ending 6A meet last year, showed that they are on course to challenge for the 6A title three weeks out from the state meet.
“Jesuit's a fabulous meet, so it was really cool for the girls,” Oregon City coach Kristin Mull said. “The meet's set-up and events definitely lended to our strengths.”
Beckmon won the long jump and finished third in the elite 100 meters and senior Harley Daniel won the 100 hurdles and was second in the long jump. Beckmon and Daniel joined senior Grace Leasure and sophomore Samara Lugo to win the 4x100 relay and place third in the 4x400 relay.
Leasure finished third in the triple jump and freshman Lucille Leasure placed fifth in the high jump.
Beckmon came through with a long jump of 19 feet, 11 inches, beating her previous state record of 19-10 ¼, set last summer. She hit 19-11 on her first attempt, 19-10 ¾ on her second jump and fouled on her third try, then shut it down for the day before heavy rains arrived.
Entering the meet, Beckmon's best jump this season was 19-5 ¼ at the Summit Invitational on April 16. She has been dealing with knee soreness for much of the season.
“I don't know when she's taken a break,” Mull said. “We're just trying to manage it. She's still super young and learning how to treat her body. Our trainer's got an eye on her. We're just going to keep making sure we help her manage that.
“She's an incredible competitor, but she's also a very intelligent athlete.”
Daniel won the 100 hurdles in 14.41, well off her PR of 14.04 but good enough to win by .51 seconds over North Salem junior Jordan Koskondy. Daniel also long-jumped 18-9, her best mark since going 18-4 as a freshman.
“She's always super busy with the hurdles, and the Twilight offered the opportunity to not have those things conflict,” Mull said. “Hurdles are obviously super demanding, so when they conflict in a dual-meet situation, she only takes one or two jumps. And she didn't have to do that.”
Oregon City's 4x100 relay won in 48.12 seconds, just off the school record of 48.10 that the team set the Willamette Falls Invitational the previous week. Friday's effort might have been more impressive, however, considering the Pioneers did it in the rain.
“Just seeing their fight and battling until the end, it was super cool to see,” Mull said.
The Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays featured several other outstanding individual performances.
Cascade senior Emma Gates cleared a personal-best 6-0 ¼ to win the high jump. The Arizona-bound Gates became the fourth girl in state history to reach 6-0 and is ranked third all-time behind West Albany's Rachel Proteau (6-1 in 2013) and Sheridan's Joni Huntley (6-0 ¾ in 1974).
Tualatin senior Caleb Lakeman continued his impressive streak of wins by taking the boys elite mile in 4:04.46. Lakeman was coming off victories in two of the state's fastest races this season, the 1,500 at the Chehalem Field and Track Classic on April 15 and the 3,000 at the Oregon Relays on April 23.
Jesuit senior Chloe Foerster captured the girls elite mile in 4:43.81, holding off Franklin senior Kaiya Robertson (4:44.18). In the girls elite 100, Lake Oswego sophomore Mia Brahe-Pedersen (11.45) edged Roosevelt senior Lily Jones (11.46).
Pendleton senior Sam Jennings won the javelin with a throw of 213-5, improving on his state-best mark for the season. Astoria senior Colton McMaster passed 60 free in the shot for the first time, winning with a state-best 60-4 ¼.
It was a busy – and highly successful – weekend for South Medford junior Andrew Walker.
On Friday, Walker won the elite 100 at the Nike/Jesuit Twilight relays. On Saturday, he won the 100 and 200 and ran on the runner-up 4x100 relay to help the Panthers win the Grants Pass Rotary Invitational.
“He basically went for a cool down, stretched and then drove back down last night,” South Medford coach David Kirkpatrick told the Mail Tribune. “He didn’t get back until one or two in the morning and then was back at the track at 9 a.m. this morning. That’s pretty amazing, but today also was good practice for state when he has to run in prelims and then goes back to run in finals.”
For the season, Walker is ranked No. 1 in the state in the 200 (21.27) and No. 2 in the 100 (10.70).