Lion boys take first at ‘Meet of Champions’

It was a big week in track and field for Cottage Grove High school. With twenty-seven teams participating, the Lions boys team took first place at the Meet of Champions in Sweet Home on Saturday. Cottage Grove with 78 points, beat out second place Banks who had 69 points and third place Santiam Christian, who had 52 points.

Helping the Lions men was Ty Kishen, who finished third in the triple jump. The Lions women finished 16th out of 29 teams. It was again senior Gracie Arnold who led the way for Cottage Grove, finishing in 5th out of 18 participants in the javelin and 7th in the high jump, out of 16 participants. 

Earlier this month it was officially announced that both Arnold and Kishen are set to perform athletically at the college level. Arnold, who won Sky-Em player of the year in women’s basketball will be playing the same sport at Western Oregon University.

“At my visit I got to practice with them a little bit,” Arnold said. “It was so fun, everybody has high energy and their super supportive of each other, so it drew me in to see such a positive atmosphere.”

Arnold plans to major in business with a minor in sports marketing, where she hopes that will take her to a career in the sports corporation world.

“In all the seasons I’ve had, in all the sports I’ve played I think it’s such a big deal to be involved in sports and athletics. Meeting all the people and making all the memories in total is something that will carry with me the rest of my life,” Arnold said.

However, she still has her eyes set on the remainder of this track season with the Lions.

“I’m looking forward to competing at the new Hayward field cause I’ve done track all four years of high school and every year it’s either ben under construction or it’s there has been COVID issues,” Arnold added. “So this is my last chance to actually make it back to the new Hayward and I’m really excited about that.”

Kishen will be attending Bushnell University in Eugene, where he will continue with track and field.

“George (Walcott) and Tom (Boldon), the track coaches were so supportive, and I know they’ll help me get through any obstacle,” said Arnold. “It’s a tightknit family over there. Everybody knows each other there cause it’s a small college”.

Kishen plans to major in biology at Bushnell and hopes to become an MRI tech. He also has his eyes set on hayward field this season, but also appreciates his time at Cottage Grove.

“I don’t think I’ll forget the seniors who were around me when I was a freshman, and I don’t think I’ll forget the freshman that I have around me now. I went from looking up to them to being the one who’s getting looked up to. It’s kind of awesome to see yourself go through that and see your own character change,” added Kishen.

At the Meet of Champions, several Lions looked poised to make a run towards state this season. Junior Brennan Murphy once again won the 200m with a time of 23.50 and the 400m with a time of 52.30.

The Lions 4X100 Relay team with Tyler Russell, Sylas Williams, Isaac Stere, and Murphy finished second with a 45.83 time, just behind Banks time of 45.10. However, in the 4X400 relay a Lions team of Williams, Wyatt Pepiot, Terran Stewart, and Murphy took first place over Santiam Christian.

Senior Isaac Stere, who earlier this year received a scholarship to Umpqua Community College,  had another big day with a 6’1 jump, earning him first place in the high jump and finished third in the long jump. Freshman Carter Bengtson also contributed at the Meet of Champions by finishing third in the 3000m.

The Lions continue their season this Saturday at the Stayton Invitational, with the first field events taking place at 10 a.m.