McNary’s Garrett Hittner rounds a corner during a race at the dual meet with McKay High School earlier this season. (Photo by Bill Donaldson)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity track and field teams took their first dual meet losses of the season against West Salem High School, but several star athletes were taking on a lighter load in preparation for district competition.

“We want to compete in dual meets, but our ultimate goal is to send as many kids as possible to state. If that means our kids aren’t as competitive in our dual meet, we’re okay with that,” said Frank Gauntz, McNary head coach.

The boys lost their side of the meet 86-59 while the girls barely missed the opportunity and lost 73-72.

Sophomore Evan Rummerfield, who won the 3,000-meter for the boys with a time of 10:20.10, said the upside of the loss is that is shows there’s room for improvement all around.

“No one’s plateaued yet and everyone is pacing themselves and hanging in and staying strong despite the loss,” he said. “The good thing is there’s still two weeks left before district and that’s a lot of time.”

Taking time to heal from a brilliant start to the season is also part of the plan, said Gauntz.

“Each coach designs their program to peak toward the district meet and state meet. It’s a matter of giving them the tools they need to meet their goals and any goals they have in life,” Gauntz said.

The girls’ meet came down to the 4×400 relay and the Titans edged out McNary by just more than a second to take the one-point win.

“Despite that race, the relay team is doing really well,” said Celt Aerial Rice, who ran the third leg. “The nice thing about the team this year is we all have specific goals in mind and it helps us push each other toward them.”

Winning contestants for the boys in the West Salem meet were: Amadi Amaitsa in the 400-meter with a time of 52.94; Tony Goemaere in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4:21.27; Daniel Brattain in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles with times of 15.76 and 41.21, respectively; Jesse Wilson in the shot put with a personal record toss of 47-09.5; Austin Hejny in the discus with a personal record of 152-8; Perry Groves in the high jump with a leap of 5-10; and Jake Herndon in the pole vault clearing 12-00.

For the girls, winners were: Rice in the 100-meter with a time of 13.41; Deven Hunter in the 200-meter stopping the clock at 27.12; Laura Donaldson in the 400-meter with a time of 1:01.85; Ashley Burger in the 1,500-meter with a time of 5:22.18; Courtney Repp in the 3,000-meter with a time of 12:12.9; Hunter, Rice, Liana Patton and Ashlee Koenig in the 4×100 relay with a time of 51.53; Stacey Titchenal in the javelin with a throw of 123-10; Danielle Lovejoy in the pole vault clearing 9-00; and Koenig in the triple jump with a distance of 29-05.50.