Last season, Weston-McEwen sprinter Jacob Speed helped his TigerScot boys track and field team capture a Class 2A state championship.
He did his part individually by running to a second place finish in the 400-meter dash and a third place finish in the 200-meter dash, as well as anchoring the 4x100-meter relay team to a third place finish.
On Thursday, Speed, now a senior, is one of five TigerScot boys and part of a herd of local athletes from Umatilla and Morrow counties heading back to the 2018 OSAA State Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene. And while Speed will surely do everything he can to help his TigerScots win another state championship, he is also set up to bring home some state championship hardware individually.
Speed qualified for all three sprint events — the 100, 200 and 400 — and is also the anchor again of the 4x100 relay team. On the preliminary heat sheets, Speed is the top seed in the 200 and 400 where his season-best times are both nearly a half a second ahead of second place. And in the 100, Speed is seeded third based off of his district time, though Speed holds the top time in Class 2A this season at 11.28 seconds, which was set at the Baker Invitational on May 4.
The Tigerscots’ relay team also holds the top seed in the race with a time of 45.01.
While there are dozens upon dozens of local athletes competing at state this weekend, here is a look at some of the teams and athletes to watch for:
For the final time, the Hermiston Bulldogs will be competing at the historic Hayward Field in the state championships as members of the OSAA. And with that note, the Bulldogs hope to make it a memorable one.
Tyler Rohrman enters the boys 110-meter hurdles as the top seed for prelims, as do Scout Reagan in the girls 200-meter dash and Madison Wilson in the girls 100-meter hurdles. All three are top-ten seeds in another event as well, with Rohrman seeded second in the 300-meter hurdles, Reagan seeded fifth in the 200-meter dash and Wilson seeded ninth in the 300-meter hurdles. Elsa Torres also comes in as the third seed in the 200.
In the field, Stephanie Miears comes No. 1 in the state in the shot put and Jazlyn Romero is No. 2 in the state in javelin.
The Pendleton Buckaroos have several athletes traveling to Eugene, but their best shot at a state title may be with exchange student Emanuela Casadei who is No. 1 in the state in girls javelin with a distance of 143 feet and 3 inches. For the boys, sophomore Lane Maher is seeded third in the 300-meter hurdles, only 0.6 seconds off the pace of the top seed.
Mac-Hi junior Bianca Garcia has competed in javelin this season at eight different events and she earned a first place finish seven times. Garcia is aiming for a state championship and might be the favorite in Class 4A, as she holds the top throw in the state this year at 143 feet, 3 inches, nearly 15 feet of cushion on second place — though Garcia did throw a season-worst 118-6 at the district championships on May 12.
Umatilla brings plenty of firepower to Eugene, starting with high jumper Julian Gutierrez who is ranked second in the state with a top jump of 6-feet-2. Also for the Vikings, Patty Burres is seeded fourth in both the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash, Nancy Ortiz is seeded fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles, and the girls 4x400 relay team is seeded fourth. Zayne Troeger is seeded seventh in the boys 800-meter run; however, he holds the second-best time in the state this year of 2:01.71.
Along with Speed, Weston-McEwen has a few other athletes gunning for titles. Kelen McGill is seeded eighth in the boys 100-meter dash and finished fifth at state as a freshman last year. On the girls side, Maddi Muilenburg is No. 3 in javelin, Ellie Schiebner is tied for No. 3 in long jump, Katie Vescio is No. 5 in pole vault, and the 4x400 relay team is fourth.
Heppner’s Hunter Nichols is seeded fifth in the boys 400 and sixth in the boys 3,000 meters, Derek Howard is No. 3 in shot put, and Alex Lindsay is No. 3 in triple jump. The Mustangs’ 4x400 relay team is seeded sixth, however the team of Lindsay, Jayden Wilson, Mason Lehman and Nichols have the top time in Class 2A this year of 3:36.60 recorded at the Centennial Invitational on April 21.
Pilot Rock’s Abby Rigby will run as the third seed in the girls 400-meter dash, and Siobhan Holman is the third seed for the girls 300-meter hurdles.
After winning a state championship last season, Arlington’s Thomas Evans is back to defend his javelin crown. Evans is No. 2 in the state currently with a season-best throw of 165-8.25, five feet off the distance of the leader. Evans’ teammate, Wesley Goad, is also ranked fifth in high jump.
Helix’s Sadie Wilson is ranked No. 4 in girls shot put and No. 2 in javelin, Kailey Mize is No. 5 in discus, Lucy Case is the No. 4 seed in the 3,000 meters, and Hannah Christman is seeded fifth in the 800 meters. For the boys, Sam Carlson is ranked No. 3 in shot put and No. 4 in discus.
Ione’s Hayden Qualls is entered in both of the boys’ distance races, though his best chance at reaching the top of the podium may be in the 1,500 where he holds the top seed in the race.
Action begins on Thursday at Hayward Field with the first day of Class 1A-3A events, with 4A-6A beginning on Friday.