By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School boys varsity track and field team wasted little time in making a statement this season.
The Celtic boys won the the big-school division of the Willamette Falls Invitational on Saturday, April 12.
“Especially in the sprinters, we have a lot of depth,” said senior Garrett Hittner. “We’ve got Kyle Torres, Brett Hildebrand, Anthony Nguyen and Austin Brown in the varsity team, but we’ve also got a lot of young runners who know what they are doing.”
At the invite, Torres won the 200 and 400 meter sprints in 22.81 and 51.14, respectively; Daniel Brattain won the 110 hurdles in 14.81, the 300 hurdles in 39.91 and the pole vault clearing 13-00; and Brown, Torres, Nguyen, and Hittner won the 4×100 relay in 43.15.
“It was kind of a goal for the guys to win one of the invites this season. It’s been a long time since they have and you could tell just by watching them how much they wanted it,” said Frank Gauntz, McNary head coach.
While Brattain is no stranger to the top spots in hurdling events (he owns the school and district records in the 110), he’s added the pole vault to his repertoire this season at McNary. He’s not new to the event, however. During summer breaks, the senior competes in decathlons. His low mark the season thus far is where many student athletes finish their careers in the event.
“I have a lot of goals this season,” Brattain said. “I want to get some more school records, but I want to leave my mark on the team, to be the guy that everyone points to when they say, ‘This is how you do it.’”
On the girls side of the invite, McNary landed in 18th place. Daysha Simms won the 400 meter in 58.86. Simms holds the school and district record in the race, but she’s hoping to improve her time again this year.
“If I don’t, I’m going to be upset,” she said. “Mostly, I just want to run fast and go top three at state.”
The varsity track and field teams both notched wins over the McKay High School Royal Scots Wednesday, April 9.
The boys took their side of the meet with a final score of 71-65. The girls won 67-60.
In boys events, winners were: Hittner in the 100 and 400 meter races with times of 11.37 and 23.23, respectively; Adrian Fernandez in the 1,500 meter in 4:24.83; Chance Clark in the 3,000 meter in 11:06.47; Brattain in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.27; Sky Cater in the 300 hurdles in 44.98; Nguyen, Brown, Torres and Hittner in 43.33; Perry Groves in the high jump clearing 6-00; and Brattain in the pole vault clearing 13-00.
Hittner said he’d like to take district titles in the 100 and 200 meters, but the sprinters’ focus is the relays.
“We think we can take both races with the talent we’ve got,” Hittner said.
The Lady Celts posted winning performances in all but a few events. Podium toppers were: Simms in the 100 and 200 meter races with times of 12.84 and 26.05, respectively; Danielle Duran
in the 400 meter in 1:04.85; Marisa McGrath in the 3,000 meter in 14:01.13; River Harri in the high hurdles in 18.78, and low hurdles in 52.66; Ashlee Koenig, Simms, Alyssa Looney and Duran in the 4×100 relay in 53.47; Duran, Sydney Hunter, Hali Thurston and Simms in the 4×400 relay; Kyla Duncan in the javelin with a mark of 95-00; Jasmine Ernest in the discus with a mark of 67-03; Duncan in the javelin with a heave of 111-00; Amanda Vergara in the pole vault clearing 7-00; and Koenig in the long and triple jumps with marks of 15-10 and 30-03, respectively.
Gauntz said the addition of Looney to the 4×100 relay team has benefitted the team greatly, but that a lot of younger athletes are stepping up to varsity challenges.
“We expected big things out of them this season, but they are the ones living up to it,” Gauntz said.
Simms said the both teams are benefitting from recruitment efforts led by the upperclassmen.
“We brought in a lot of sophomores and freshmen and they’re doing great. We’ve had great leaders stepping up this season, and I know our new athletes are going to be great leaders when the time comes,” she said.