EUGENE - Alex Ringe runs in fear. The junior from Hermiston, who spends his autumns with the football team as a running back and his springs with the track team as a mid-distance specialist, runs fast because he's afraid of losing.
"I feel a lot of pressure, the team expects a lot of me," Ringe said. "There's a lot on my shoulders. I feel like I have to win."
That sense of "have to" changed a little Friday for Ringe on day 2 of the OSAA Class 5A Track and Field State Championships at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. Running for the first time with a sense of freedom, he said, Ringe used a strong kick to outlast Shawn Boyd of Bend to win the 5A boys 800-meter title in 1:56.57.
"He's intensely competitive," said Hermiston coach Dave Rohrman. "He's had a target on his back all year. Everyone's always saying, 'You gotta beat Ringe.' It was probably a relief to him to come out here and just cut loose."
It was the second individual champion in as many days for the Bulldogs. Jennifer Macias, a senior, won the 3,000 on Thursday. Hermiston sits in second place for the girls' team championship with 27.5 points behind Marshfield (35 points).
Hermiston also got points Friday from Michelle Coombs, who was third in the javelin; Melissa McKinley, who placed fourth in the girls' 800, and Sarah Von Arx, who placed eighth in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet even.
"I might have waited a little late to kick; I had a lot left over," said McKinley, who ran a 2:21.45.
Kasia Rademacher and Kersee Lind, who ran in the girls 300 hurdles and boys 300 hurdles, respectively, both qualified for finals, which means the Bulldogs are guaranteed to get points from every athlete they brought to state.
Fellow 5A competitor Pendleton did some damage in the prelims as well. Derek Barfuss, a junior, qualified for the finals in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. Kate Bostwick finished sixth in prelims, also qualifying for finals. And the boys' 4x100 relay team, ranked No. 1 in state, qualified for the finals in Thursday's prelims. They will compete today for a state title.
"We've set the pace," said Pendleton coach Mark Christensen. "I feel good about these last two days."
And while Brandon Caswell didn't score any points for Pendleton, Christensen said his win in the wheelchair races is a big morale booster for the Bucks.
Caswell, who has no legs and races in what the OSAA considers "exhibition" events, won the 100, 200 and 800 meter wheelchair races.
"I wanted to go out with a bang," Caswell said.
It was Caswell's final high school meet, but not his last race in a wheelchair. He still has exhibitions to attend in Canada and Brazil, and hopes to qualify for the Pan-American games in the coming months.
CLASS 5A BOYS
Team standings - 1, Marshfield 33; 2, St. Helen's 24; 3, Bend 24; 4, Wilsonville 20; 5, Hillsboro 15; 6, Lebanon 14.5; 7, Hermiston 14
100 dash prelims -10, Kris Webber, Pendleton, 11.63.
800 run- 1, Alex Ringe, Hermiston, 1:56.57.
110 hurdles prelims - 2, Kersee Lind, Hermiston, 15.08; 3, Derek Barfuss, Pendleton, 15.19.
300 hurdles prelims - 1, Kersee Lind, Hermiston, 39.36; 6. Derek Barfuss, Pendleton, 41.48.
CLASS 5A GIRLS
Team standings - 1, Marshfield 35; 2, Hermiston 27.5; 3, Thurston 26; 4, Crescent Valley 20; 5, Hillsboro 17; 5, Silverton 17; 18, Pendleton 4
100 dash prelims - 3, Alma Aguiar, Hermiston, 12.83.
800 run - 4, Melissa McKinley, Hermiston, 2:21.45.
100 hurdles prelims - 6, Kate Bostwick, Pendleton, 15.86.
300 hurdles prelims - 3, Kate Bostwick, Pendleton, 46.98; 4. Kasia Rademacher, Hermiston, 47.91.
Javelin - 3, Michelle Coombs, Hermiston, 132-08.
High jump - 8, Sarah Von Arx, Hermiston, 5-0.