By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
When the McNary High School varsity track and field teams met with other Salem-area teams to determine Central Valley Conference champions this week, a large contingent of Celtics were expected to be among the top talent.
Head coach Frank Gauntz said he was most eager to see how the boys and girls 4×400 relays finish.
“There’s a lot of deep talent in the league this year and those are going to be exciting races,” Gauntz said.
McNary leads in boys’ and girls’ 4×100 relays times, and the boys broke the school record by four one-hundredths of a second at the Jesuit Twilight Relays May 2.The prior record was 12 years old.
“We’re coming to a close and we’re looking to improve on that time, and improve on our placing in the state ranking,” said Garrett Hittner, who runs the anchor leg of the race.
Daysha Simms-Garcia is seeking to go out with a bang in her senior year. She’ll be running the 100, 200 and 400 sprints at the district competition.
“My goal is to beat my personal records in each event,” said Simms-Garcia, who already owns the school record in the 400.
McNary athletes who led in rankings headed into the tournament included Anthony Nguyen in the 200 meter; Daniel Brattain in the 110 and 300 hurdles as well as the pole vault; the boys’ 4×100 relay team of Austin Brown, Kyle Torres, Nguyen and Garrett Hittner; Simms-Garcia in the 200 and 400 meter races; and the girls’ 4×100 of Simms-Garcia, Ashlee Koenig, Danielle Duran and Alyssa Looney.
That list doesn’t include events like the boys 200 meter race, in which there are no fewer than five Celtics in the top 10 times.
“We’re pretty deep this year,” said Hittner. “It’s looking like we’ll have three people in every event, which is going to help us a lot.”
The teams enter into the competition on the heels of routing Sprague High School in competition Wednesday, May 7.
The boys won their side of the meet 91-50. The Lady Celts won 87-58.
For the boys, McNary’s first-place finishers were: Nguyen in the 100 and 200 meter races with times of 11.18 and 22.61, respectively; Torres in the 400 meter in 51.28; Adrian Fernandez in the 800 meter in 2:05.41; Chance Clark in the 3,000 meter in 10:54.5; Sky Cater in the 110 hurdles in 18.01; Kaleb Hatch in the 300 hurdles; Brown, Torres, Nguyen and Hittner in 4×100 relay in 43.06; Fernandez, Brett Hildebrand, Hittner and Evan Rummerfield in the 4×400 relay in 3:40.37; Perry Groves in the high jump clearing 5-10; Brendan Van Voorhis in the long jump with a mark of 20-01.5; and Tregg Peterson in the triple jump with a mark of 38-09.5.
For the girls, event winners were: Simms-Garcia in the 400 meter in 57.84; Aisha Amaitsa in the 800 in 2:29.81; Alexa Strand in the 1,500 meter in 5:57.21; Julia Lewis in the 3,000 meter in 13:25.9; Simms-Garcia, Ashlee Koenig, Danielle Duran and Alyssa Looney in the 4×100 relay; Hali Thurston, Sydney Hunter, Duran and Simms-Garcia in the 4×400 in 4:09.69; Deanna Saukov in the discus with a mark of 96-03; Jasmine Ernest in the javelin with a 110-10 mark; and Emily McNichols in the pole vault clearing 8-00.