5A state track | Lane Maher

Pendleton’s Lane Maher won the 110-meter hurdles last Saturday during the IMC championships in Prineville. Maher turned in a time of 15.05 seconds and punched his ticket to the 5A state championships.

Lane Maher sets the bar pretty high for himself.

The Pendleton junior is one of the top hurdlers in the state, but until he is No. 1, he said there still is work to be done.

“I’ve been chasing Ty Rohrman of Hermiston, and now he’s graduated,” Maher said. “I have always wanted to be that guy, for people to say, ‘It’s him.’ ”

Maher will put his skills on display at the 5A Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College.

There, just one guy, senior Dylan Murray of Willamette High School (6A last year) has better times than Maher in both hurdle events. He clocked a 13.93 seconds in the 110s on May 18, and a 37.60 in the 300s on May 3.

“I’ve ran against him before, and he’s very good,” Maher said of Murray. “I would love to get where he’s at. I’m pretty far behind, but I’m not going to make it easy on him.”

In Eastern Oregon, others say the same about Maher.

Maher set a school record in the 300 hurdles, turning in a time of 39.11 seconds at the Intermountain Conference district championships in Prineville last weekend. The previous record of 39.34 was set by Kevin Robinson in 2012.

“I’m very happy about that,” Maher said. “That (school) record is something I have been working for since my freshman year.”

Maher also won the 110 hurdles at district, turning in a time of 15.05 to land on top of the podium.

His PR in the event is 14.74, which he ran at the Kiwanis Twilight Invitational in Hermiston, while running against two of the top hurdlers from the Mid-Columbia Conference — Parker Morgan of Kamiakin, and Beau Franklin of Hanford.

“I’m working for that one (school record) as well,” Maher said. “This year was some of the best competition I have had. Going to any of those big meets, you get in the mindset you have to go fast. It always makes you better.”

Not an easy event to learn

Maher started hurdling in middle school, but it wasn’t until he got to Pendleton High and started working with coach Ben Bradley that things started to fall into place.

“It was a hard thing for me to learn,” Maher admitted. “Ben has been very helpful the past three years.”

For an event that requires competitors to be part sprinter and part jumper, Bradley said it did not take Maher long to grasp the nuances of the event.

“His No. 1 thing is fearlessness,” Bradley said. “His freshman year, you could tell he was going to conquer it. There is no hesitation. His focus and concentration are on winning. He listens to me, and hears what I say.”

After Maher set the school record in the 300 hurdles, Bradley feels the 110 record (14.46 by Kelly Simpson in 1999) is within his reach.

“I think he is more than capable,” Bradley said. “I think he may have a chance at state. There are kids there to pull him along. I think he has a chance if the conditions are right.”

Maher is a little hesitant to say he can pull off that feat off this weekend.

“It’s crazy,” Maher said. “Some of those records have not been broken in a long time. I have a 14.74, that is a lot of time to make up in that short of a race. I don’t know if I will get that this year.”

Staying the course

This is Maher’s second trip to state. As a sophomore, he was fourth in the 110s (15.36) and third in the 300s (39.99).

That he is on the track and at the top of his sport this spring is impressive.

He broke the fibula in his left leg on Dec. 18 in a basketball game against Milwaukie and missed the rest of the season.

“I was able to come back just in time for track,” Maher said.

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