North Bend’s boys and girls got off to a strong start at the Midwestern League district track meet at Crater High School on Thursday, taking the lead in both team races with four total champions, all with personal bests.
The most impressive wins came from athletes who already led Class 5A heading into the meet.
Ty Hampton had another huge throw in the javelin, 221 feet, 4 inches, to extend his best that already led all Oregon throwers.
And Chelsea Howard soared past 18 feet for the first time in the long jump with her winning leap of 18 feet, 4 inches.
North Bend’s other wins came by Kobe Johnson in the boys shot put, with a new best of 49 feet, 4 inches, and Hayden Markel in the girls javelin with her throw of 110-6.
The winners, North Bend’s only state qualifiers on the first day, lifted the Bulldogs to the lead in both team races heading into Saturday’s finals.
North Bend’s boys had 34 points, four more than Churchill. Hunter Bierce was third in the shot put and fifth in the javelin and Teron Catanzaro was fifth in the long jump.
North Bend’s girls also had 34 points, one more than Churchill. Maya Cole was fourth and Ashleigh Timm sixth in the javelin and Kylie Rocha was fifth and Lupita Trujillo seventh in the pole vault.
North Bend also did well in qualifying on the track, advancing all its key athletes through to Saturday’s finals.
The top two finishers in each event advance to the state meet next weekend in Gresham.
The 3,000-meter finals were Thursday. Crater’s Jantz Tostenenson was the surprising winner in the boys race in 8 minutes, 39.80 seconds. Ashland’s Evan Holland, the state leader, was second in 8:48.43.
Ashland did have the girls winner, Alexa Hague (10:47.30).
Churchill had both boys state qualifiers in the boys long jump, when Simon Dexter edged teammate Elijah Fields by half an inch with his mark of 21-8 ½.
Willamette’s Natalie Willoughby won the girls shot put (36-9 ½) and Emmi Freeman of Churchill won the pole vault (11-4).
BULLDOGS RAINED OUT: North Bend’s doubleheader against visiting Ashland was rained out Thursday because of wet field conditions after a long delay including a thunder delay.
North Bend is guaranteed to finish fifth in the league standings with its record of 7-7 after Willamette (6-10) was swept by Crater. At No. 18 in the power rankings, the Bulldogs are in line for the one at-large spot available for the Class 5A playoffs, though it won’t become official until the OSAA power rankings freeze Saturday night.
TIGERS IN PLAYOFFS: The Sunset Conference tiebreaker doubleheader at Coos Bay also was rained out when rains hit after the initial game had started Thursday, putting Bandon into the Class 2A-1A playoffs as the league’s No. 3 seed.
The Tigers, Reedsport and Coquille finished the year tied for third place and Bandon had the best power ranking of the three. When the rains came early in the Coquille-Reedsport game, the Tigers were playoff bound since they finished the season ranked No. 22, one spot above Reedsport.
CLASS 2A PLAYOFFS: Bandon will open the Class 2A softball playoffs at Santiam on Monday while the Tigers will be at Nestucca for the opening round of the baseball playoffs.
The winner of Bandon's softball game visits Vernonia in the second round Wednesday.
The winner of the Bandon-Nestucca game is at top-ranked Knappa in the second round of the baseball playoffs Wednesday.
Reedsport, meanwhile, is the No. 5 seed and awaits the winner of a game between Lost River and Glide.