As the rain fell on and off Saturday afternoon at Sutherlin High School, the Cottage Grove Lions track and field team continued to reign supreme in the Sky-Em league. For the first time in school history, the boys and coed Lions teams are back-to-back district champions after Thursday and Saturdays events.
“We were hoping to get out of here with three trophies but to defend your title is always hard,” Knutson said. I would say Junction City was the favorite coming in. For the boys to swing it around to pull off the win is pretty awesome.”
Led by a balanced effort, the men’s team’s 162 points earned them a 1st place finish above Junction City. Cottage Grove had seven members of the boys team that scored a combined 16 points who were not seeded in scoring position going into the weekend, which were big in Cottage Grove’s five point win.
“It was such a team effort on the boy’s side cause while we didn’t win a ton of events we had a lot of guy’s step and score. Our depth is what won it for us today, for anyone who thinks track is an individual sport, it was a total team effort today on the boy’s side. There are too many guys to even mention that stepped it up today,” Knutson said.
On the track, Jacob Woods once again had a big day for the Cottage Grove boys, winning the 100-meter final with a time of 11.37, just edging out Junction City’s Jake Rogers. Woods and Rogers once again finished 1st and 2nd in the 200-meter race but Rogers got the upper hand in that race.
“Going into the meet we talked a lot with the kids how this meet was a lot like a boxing match, there was going to be 17 rounds. There were a couple points where I thought Junction City was going to have us on the boy’s side,” Knutson added. The Tigers boys finished just 5 points behind the Lions, with 157 points.
In the 1500 Konrad Raum’s PR of 4:18.90 was good enough for a 3rd place finish. James Talley and Raum had another big showing in the 3000, finishing 2nd and 3rd, with Raum coming just behind Sisters lead man Jordan Pollard. The Lions 4X100 Relay team finished 2nd in the finals on the boy’s team’s way to winning districts.
The boys field events were highlighted by Hunter Hall, who threw 43’ 0.25 and Joshua Claflin throwing 40’ 6.5 in the shot put. The Javelin finals also saw Hunter Hall throw 157’ 8, good enough for third. But it was Tucker Porter (who also placed 2nd in the triple jump finals, Woods, and Erick Giffen that highlighted the men’s field events. Porter and Woods finished 1st and 2nd in the Long jump for the Lions while Giffen’s 6’1 high jump finished led to a 1st place finish.
After finishing 11th in last week’s Ciochetti invitational, the girls team had a strong performance, finishing with 170 points, second behind Sisters’ 175 points. Cassidy Herbert won the shot put event, throwing 30-10.5 while also finishing 3rd in discus. Melissa Powers and Kaitlyn Brooks finished 3rd and 4th respectively in the Javelin finals while Keara Murphy’s 4’10 jump was good enough for 2nd in the high jump. “Sisters beat us up pretty good last year (on the girl’s side, we knew Sisters would be the favorite again but we thought we had closed the gap on them a little bit,” Knutson added. “To come five points within a team like that…”
On the track the women’s team had another excellent showing from Hannah Albrecht, Sabrina James, and Faryn Dahlen. Albrecht took the 400, while also finishing 2nd in the 100 and 200 meter races. James came in second in the 1500 and 3000 while Dahlen finished 2nd in the 100M hurdles and Tyra Gordon finished 3rd in the same event. Hudson Weybright also came in 2nd in the 800-meter race.
Up next the Lions will send 18 student athletes to Hayward field in Eugene for the state championships this Friday and Saturday.
Knutson, who won the Sky-Em boys coach of the year award along with his assistants, said this coming week’s practices will be “a lot of recovery. A lot of attention to detail and a lot of technique. It’s hard to compete with this level of intensity two out of three days so we need to make sure they are fresh for competing at Hayward field.”