Celtics prepare for districts

McNary’s Kylie Dean gets set to throw the shot (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

The McNary track team came up just short in their final two dual meets of the conference season on Wednesday, April 24, as the girls fell to McKay 75.33-50.66, while the boys lost to the Royal Scots 75-50.

But with the Mountain Valley Conference district meet just weeks away, McNary head coach Frank Gauntz likes where his team is at as a whole. 

“I feel really excited about where we’re at right now,” Gauntz said. “I don’t think we’ll compete for a title or anything, but the kids have put themselves in the best position to place or make the finals.”

While there were several impressive performances on both sides, McNary sprinter Bryan Hernandez stole the show in this one.

The junior easily won the 100 meters in 11.37 seconds, then turned around and smoked the competition in the 200m with a time of 23.17. 

Both times were personal records for Hernandez.

“My coaches have been helping me a lot with my craft,” Hernandez said. “I knew that I had good races.”

Hernandez flew a little under the radar before the season started, but through a lot of training, he has now established himself as one of the top sprinters in the conference.

“We’ve always known he’s had talent, but this year, Bryan has come out and he has wanted to work,” Gauntz said. “I’m looking for him to put himself in a position to make it up to state.”

Even though he is running better than ever, Hernandez still has some lofty expectations for himself before the end of the season as he prepares for the district and state meet.  

“On the 100, I’m trying to break 11 (seconds). And in the 200 I’m trying to get below 23 (seconds),” Hernandez said.

The McNary boys also got an impressive performance from McLean Schmitt.

Schmitt took second in the 100-hurdles and set a new personal-best (16.38). Schmitt was also victorious in the 300-hurdles (43.93).

“McLean is a technician. He’s has been steady for us the whole season. It’s really exciting to see how he is running,” Gauntz said.

Elio Carella took home a win in the 800m (2:14.39) and Gavin Gasperini finished first in the 3000m (10:23.68). The Celtics also picked up wins in both relay races.

Caitlyn Kiefiuk Yates and Isabella Walker have been the two most consistent and versatile athletes for the Celtic girls this season, and they proved it once again in this meet. 

Yates earned her top mark of the season by winning the 100-hurdles in 17.13. She also earned a victory in the long jump with a seasonal-best leap of 15-feet-3.75 inches. 

Walker, on the other hand, claimed her second win of the conference season in the 300-hurdles (50.74).

“We’re hoping to get both of them to peak at the right time,” Gauntz said. “They both really like to compete and they’re here every single day working hard.”

Audrey Williams pulled out a win in the 800m (2:44.32) while Brandi Grunberg pulled out a victory in the pole vault with her nine-foot jump.

McNary will travel to Bend to compete in the MVC District meet starting on May 16 at Summit High School.