Catlin Gabel's Caroline Mauro won the high jump in the Oregon Relays and Jesuit Twilight Relays. (Photo by Michael Williams)
Catlin Gabel's Caroline Mauro won the high jump in the Oregon Relays and Jesuit Twilight Relays. (Photo by Michael Williams)

As a freshman – when she cleared 5 feet, 3 inches to win the 3A title in the high jump – Catlin Gabel's Caroline Mauro was in awe of Cascade's Emma Gates, the 4A champion, who soared 6-0 ¼.

“I thought that was really cool,” Mauro said. “So I devised myself a plan to jump 6-0. In my mind, I was like, 'I'll jump 5-3, this year, 5-6 next year, 5-9 the year after that, and 6-0 after that. Three inches every year.”

Now a junior, Mauro is right on schedule. She made it over 5-7 ¼ to repeat as 3A champion as a sophomore, and in her first meet this season, she cleared 5-9, which stands as the state's best mark this season by two inches.

“I got my goal pretty early in the season,” Mauro said. “I've been trying to go for that 5-10 mark ever since. Just kind of waiting for that time when everything aligns perfectly and 5-10 happens.”

Mauro, who repeated her 5-9 mark to win the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field on April 20, has been knocking on the door at 5-10. She has had nine attempts at 5-10 this season, none closer than a near miss at the Oregon Relays.

“When I landed, I actually put my hands up because I thought I got it,” Mauro said. “That one felt close. Every single set of three, there's been one attempt that's felt really good. That's the one thing that kind of sustains my hope to know that it's coming, I know it's just a matter of placement and speed, and how fresh my legs are feeling that day.”

Mauro's 5-10 frame, natural lift and body control set her apart in the high jump. She trained in Russian ballet for five years, stopping in eighth grade.

“My time in dance definitely helped my ability to learn technique,” she said. “That's one of the things that makes me so easily understand aspects of the high jump, because I've learned to be very technical.”

Mauro said her emphasis this season has been on reteaching herself proper technique. Her biggest obstacle has been controlling her left leg, the trailing leg.

“I have a tendency to kind of stretch out my leg and hinder my upward rising momentum,” she said. “I can understand it as much as I want, but it's hard for me to actually execute. I think once I get that, then I'll really get that 5-10.”

By hitting 5-9, Mauro joined elite company, tying for 12th in state history with seven others. Nine jumpers have cleared 5-10 and four have made it over 6-0. West Albany's Rachel Proteau (6-1 in 2013) holds the state record.

Mauro has hit at least 5-7 in four meets this season, including a first-place 5-7 ½ at the prestigious Jesuit Twilight Relays on Friday.

“I've really enjoyed how consistent I've been,” she said. “I think that's kind of a notion to all my work in the preseason, perfecting my run-up and things like that. I put more work in this year than I have in any other year.”

In the offseason, she began working with a new high jump coach in Hugo Munoz, who conducts weekend training camps in Minnesota and Texas. Munoz's workouts emphasize explosiveness and developing quick-twitch muscles.

“Last year, I was doing lots of heavy lifting and endurance training, which kind of exhausted my muscles,” she said.

Mauro credits the new training with her dramatic rise in the long jump. She has improved from 16-0 last year to 17-7 this season, the second-best mark in 3A behind Coquille junior Melanie Lambson (17-7 ¼).

“I really like the long jump but I've never actually trained for it,” she said. “This year, I don't really know what happened because I didn't do any technique training. I think it might be a product of all my jump training. I think I've become a lot more explosive off the ground. I'm just getting more air time.”

With her speed – her best of 12.89 in the 100 meters is No. 6 in 3A and she is part of a 4x100 relay that is No. 3 in 3A – Mauro's potential in the long jump is tantalizing.

“I am very interested in the long jump,” she said. “I love it, but I've never really focused on it. I definitely am now because I like it a lot, and I'm realizing that if I trained, I could be even better at it.”

Girls excel at Jesuit Twilight Relays

Lincoln freshman Ellery Lincoln, the 6A cross country runner-up, is having an outstanding debut season in track, too.

In the Jesuit Twilight Relays on Friday, Lincoln won the elite mile in 4:43.00, the second-best time in state history behind Jesuit's Chloe Foerster, who ran 4:40.27 as a senior in 2022.

Lincoln won by more than three seconds over Lakeridge junior Chloe Huyler (4:46.22). Lincoln's 1,500 en route time of 4:25.48 ranks second in the state this season behind Huyler (4:23.48).

Roosevelt sophomore Aster Jones followed her 100 victory in the Oregon Relays with an impressive win in the elite 100. Her time of 11.83 ranks No. 7 all-time in Oregon, closing in on her sister, Lily, who ran 11.41 (No. 4) as a senior two years ago.

West Linn junior Hayden Williams-Downing won the javelin with a personal-best of 165-7, ranking her No. 6 in state history. It was her best throw since opening the season with a mark of 162-9, a 22-foot PR.

Scorching mile

The boys elite mile at the Jesuit Twilight Relays was run at a frenetic pace.

Crater junior Josiah Tostenson (4:03.55) and Wells senior Asher Danielson (4:04.10) finished third and fourth, respectively, behind runners from Montana and Washington. The times posted by Tostenson and Danielson rank third and fourth all-time in Oregon, not far off the record of 4:01.9, set by Central Catholic's Galen Rupp in 2004.

The meet produced the top 11 times for the 1,500 in the state this season. Leading the way are Tostenson (3:46.34), Danielson (3:47.43), Crater junior Tayvon Kitchen (3:53.63), Sheldon sophomore Malachi Schoenherr (3:54.50) and Crater senior Caleb Doddington (3:54.54).

Bowmen relay No. 1

Sherwood's 4x400 relay team moved to the top of the state's best list with its winning performance in the Jesuit Twilight Relays.

The team of sophomore Jayden Wright, seniors Evan Morris and Oison McEvoy and junior Andrew Waletich finished in 3:20.46, beating McMinnville (3:21.28) and Jesuit (3:21.37), who stand second and third on the state-best list.

Sherwood's time ranks No. 29 in state history.