Five Keizerites recently medalled at the 26th Annual State Games of Oregon: Bob Blackburn, Mike Toll and John Lane returned from the games with first place medals while Cole Mallette and Kathryn Wilk brought home third place medals.
The games drew more than 8,000 competitors of all ages in 35 sports with opportunities to compete in everything from badminton to skateboarding and water polo to archery.
Blackburn, 55, took first in his age group in the long jump by leaping 17-05. His mark shattered a 15-08 record for the same group that was untouched for 24 years prior.
“I was hoping to go a bit further, but I strained a quad muscle”, said the Department of Corrections employee. Blackburn said he participates in the game to stay fit, but also for the camaraderie of the competition.
“It’s not like in high school where you have a coach telling you there are points you need to get. It’s all older athletes and everyone is into helping each other and trading workout tips,” Blackburn said.
Toll also took first in the long jump for his age division, but the pulled hamstring he suffered on landing the jump has clouded most of his recollection.
“I don’t even know what my mark was,” Toll joked. He was shooting for between 18 and 19 foot, which would have been comparable to his most recent mark at the recent Portland Masters Classic Track Meet a few weeks prior. “In general, though, the games are a great way to keep in shape and it’s easier if you have something you like to do.”
Lane took first place in prone-iron sight shooting.
Fourteen-year-old Cole Mallette took third place in epee cadet mixed fencing. It wasn’t the second place finish he hoped for, but no less an achievement. He’s been training at Salem Classical fencing for the past four years.
“It’s like half-chess, half-boxing, you don’t have time to think,” Mallette said. “The biggest challenge I know that there’s always going to be better at some aspect and I want to perfect my technique and try to get into their minds.”
Kathryn Wilk took third place in epee fencing.