McNary shows improvement in dual meet with West Salem

Gabriel Martinez clears the bar in his first jump of the day in McNary’s dual meet with Sprague on Wednesday, April 24. Martinez won the high jump with a leap of 5-feet-6 inches (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

While it may not have shown on the scoreboard, the McNary boys and girls track teams continue to show steady improvement as the season goes along. 

“We’re doing a really good job competing,” McNary head coach Frank Gauntz said. “The kids have been showing that when you come out and work hard, you’re going to get better.”

“All-around, it was a fun meet to watch.”

West Salem defeated McNary 92-53 on the boys side and 112-29 on the girls side on Wednesday, April 17. But that didn’t stop the Celtics from coming away with a number of season and personal records.

The McNary boys had three individuals (Nikita Martushev, Elio Carnella and Axel Zapien) all set personal records in the 400 meters by all finishing under the 54-second mark — Martushev won the race with a time of 53.06. 

“Getting three guys to go under 54 (seconds) was really exciting,” Gauntz said.  

In his first run of the season, Gavin Gasperini won the 3000m (10:23.24) and beat his old personal-best by more than a minute.

Where the Celtic boys really excelled was the jumping events. Gabriel Martinez won the high jump with a new season-best of 5-feet-6 inches while Cole Garland took home the win in the long jump by setting a new personal record (19-6). 

Remy Olson also hit a new personal-high in the triple jump (40-2) and Sunny Hoang ended tied for first in the pole vault 10-6.

Sabella Alfaro continued her hot start to the season for the McNary girls as she once again set another personal-best in the javelin (123-5).

It was the third time this season she won the event at a Mountain Valley Conference dual meet.

“Her ceiling is so high,” Gauntz said. “It’s just a matter of getting that technique down because (javelin) is a really technical event.”

As a freshman, Ashlin Samples was one of the best freshman on the McNary track team. But Samples transferred to West Salem over the offseason.

In her first meet against her old school, Samples was victorious in the 100-hurdles (17.16) and tied for first with McNary’s Brandi Grunberg pole vault (9-6).

Caitlyn Kiefiuk Yates was neck-and-neck with her former teammate in the 100-hurdles, but Samples just edged her out down the stretch. 

“Any time a different color jersey winning, you don’t like it … But she’s a great kid and a good athlete and I wish her the best,” Gauntz said of his former athlete. “Caitlyn ran a great race against her and if she doesn’t hit the last two hurdles, she might have beat her.”

Isabella Walker had the only other win for the Celtics in the high jump (4-8).

McNary’s next dual meet comes on Thursday, May 2 against Cascade starting at 3:45 p.m.