Last Thursday, March 17 both the Cottage Grove and Creswell track and field programs kicked off their season in two introductory meets. The Lions competed at the Siuslaw Ice-breaker in Florence, and the Bulldogs competed in the Tri-County Ice-breaker in Junction City.
Cottage Grove finished atop both team standings with 179 points on the boys’ side and 134 on the girls’ side.
Creswell competitors were only allowed two individual events per athlete at their meet and finished sixth with 44 points on the boys’ side and fifth on the girls’ with 52.
“I think it was fun for the kids to finally have a chance to compete,” said Cottage Grove Head Coach Ricky Knutson. “They seemed excited, even in spite of the kind of nasty conditions. That didn’t really seem to phase the kids; they were just excited to be out there.”
Cottage Grove stacked 14 event wins on the day including both boys relays. The boys team also had strong showings in the jumps with Brennen Murphy, Ty Kishen and Isaac Stere all grabbing first in the high, long and triple jump. Tyler Russell and Brycen Cameron each took first and second in the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles. The boys also finished first in the 4x100m relay with a time of 46.56 and a time of 3:48.11 in the 4x400m relay.
Three freshmen on the girls’ side took first place in their respective events, Abbi Hemenway won the 100m with a time of 14.19, Bella Keating won the 3000m with a time of 12:41 and Taylor Bentley won the shot put with a throw of 29’11.5 ft. along with discus at 81’7 ft. Senior Gracie Arnold also took first in two events, winning the javelin with a throw of 89’8 ft. and long jump with a mark of 13’6.75 ft.
“I think it gave kids an opportunity to kind of buy-in a little bit to the team concepts,” said Knutson. “They started to understand a little bit more about how people score points in different events. So they got a chance to see what happens when they buy into the team concept. We definitely still have our work cut out for us. It was a nice way to start the season but we definitely have to keep it in perspective and keep improving.”
At the Tri-County Icebreaker Creswell grabbed four event wins highlighted by returning athletes Jack Nguyen who won both 110m and 300m hurdles and Harmony Goodwin taking first in the 3000m.
“Every first meet is always different,” said Creswell Head Coach Jonathan Ferguson. “And just getting to see how kids who have never done track before respond is always fun. And then for everyone else just using it as a rust buster and getting some time under our belt.”
The Bulldogs had a strong showing in the field events and was led by Kaitlyn Machado, who took first in the discus with a mark of 69’10 ft, followed by teammate Samairah Quinones, who finished second in the javelin and third in the shot put.
“I thought we had a lot of really good performances,” said Ferguson. “I was pretty excited with how it went. And we had a lot of young athletes just getting their feet wet here in high school.”
The Lions will have a little time off before their next meet comes up on April 2 at the Marist Invitational. While the Bulldogs have an open meet this week at South Eugene High School with the first events starting at 10 a.m.