It was a warm, albeit windy, Wednesday afternoon when the Hood River Valley Eagles and the Horizon Christian Hawks met at the newly renovated Henderson Community Stadium at HRV for the only home track meet of the season. Joined by four other schools — Crook County, Dufur, Lyle and The Dalles — the Eagles and Hawks took advantage of their home turf with a bevy of top placements and personal bests amongst a competitive field.

Horizon, despite being a fraction the size of other schools in attendance, held its own in several events. On the girls side, the Hawks had senior Kaitlin Wenz place eighth in the 200 meters with a time of 29.44, freshman Augustina Decker finishing fifth in the 800m with a personal best of 2:55.78, sophomore Kayla Kilgore finishing seventh in the 1500m with a personal best of 6:16.07, sophomore Grace Schreiber finishing seventh as well in the 100m hurdles with a personal best of 20.05 and the Hawks’ 4x400m relay team placing third with a time of 4:42.29.

It was in the field events that the Horizon girls staked their biggest claim. Senior Marena Decker had a PR in the shot put of 29 feet 1.5 inches, a mark that earned her fourth place. Decker returned in the discus with a throw of 84 feet 11 inches to take second, while her sister, Augustina, took ninth in the javelin with a throw of 64 feet 4 inches, a personal best. Sophomore Valerie Bruggeman snagged fourth place in the pole vault by clearing a height of seven feet, and Wenz leaped (literally) up the placings in long jump when she PR’d with a distance of 15 feet 3 inches to take second.

The boys side was less competitive, but not without some impressive performances. Senior Alec Coats and sophomore Skyler Leeson were middle of the pack in the 200m with seventh (24.86) and eighth (25.06) place finishes; Coats’s time was a season best, while Leeson’s was a personal best. Senior John Tran had a PR of 1:02.70 in the 400m, which earned him 10th, meanwhile freshman Luke Hardin took ninth in the 800m with a PR of 2:25.34. Sophomore JJ Holste took third in the 300m hurdles with a time of 50.58 and the 4x100m relay team rounded out the running events for Horizon with a fourth place finish in 47.82.

As with the girls, the field events held better results for the boys. Seniors Joseph Durham and Andrew Wells finished sixth and seventh in the shot put with marks of 38 feet 3 inches and 36 feet 2 inches, respectively. Both threw the discus as well, with Wells taking fourth (121 feet 10 inches) and Durham taking seventh (105 feet 4 inches, PR). Freshman Alex Whitaker took ninth in the same event with a throw of 90 feet 11 inches. Freshman Josh Rogers had a strong day in the jumps, taking fifth in the high jump after clearing five feet and second in the triple jump with a personal best of 36 feet 6.50 inches. Senior Derek Johnston took eighth in the long jump with a personal best of 17 feet 4.25 inches and senior Bailey Holste tied for eighth in the pole vault with a personal best clearance of 8 feet 6 inches.

The Hood River Valley boys team faired well in their outing, with numerous athletes recording personal bests and top placements. Senior Robby Running took home first place in the 200m and 400m for the Eagles, with times of 23.40 and 52.63, respectively. Sophomore Luke Southall took fifth in the 400m with a PR of 58.39. Senior Montana Phillips placed sixth in the 800m with a season best of 2:23.44, and joined freshman teammate Jaime Rodriguez in the 1500m where they took fifth (Rodriguez) and sixth (Phillips) with personal bests of 4:56.65 and 4:57.45, respectively. Junior Mateo Campos-Davis placed second in the 110m hurdles after running a PR of 16.12, and freshman Jack Wilson was fourth in the 300m hurdles with a time of 50.87. The Eagles’ 4x100m relay team placed second with a time of 47.12, while their 4x400m relay team was first with a time of 3:45.38. Sophomore Henry Buckles was first in the shot put and discus throws with marks of 49 feet 9 inches and 151 feet 7 inches, respectively. Sophomore Michael Goodman had a great day in the javelin, throwing a PR of 157 feet 10 inches and taking second place. Junior Emanuel Perez placed sixth in the same event with a mark of 126 feet 7 inches. Goodman doubled up in the high jump with sophomore teammate Alex Vansickle where the pair earned first and second by clearing five feet four inches and five feet two inches, respectively. Campos-Davis sailed over the competition in long jump by recording a personal best of 21 feet 6.75 inches, a mark that took first place by over two feet. Perez finished fourth in the same event with 18 feet even. Vansickle took fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 35 feet 10.75 inches.

For the girls, the Eagles had sophomores Luka Paider and Chloe Bullock, along with freshman Lauren Griggs, finish third, fifth and sixth in the 100m with times of 13.74, 14.14 and 14.21, respectively. The Eagles swept second through fifth place in the 200m, thanks to junior Sidney Becker (28.10), senior Maritza Fernandez (28.27), Paider (28.54) and Griggs (28.92). Fernandez doubled back in the 400m and took first place with a personal best of 1:04.02. In the 800m, HRV had freshman Elizabeth Lamer finish fourth with a PR of 2:53.93. She was joined by sophomore teammates Lucy Hennessy and Magali Amezquita in sixth (2:56.09) and seventh (2:56.83) and senior Katie Perkins in eighth with 2:58.30. All three girls ran the 1500m as well, along with freshman Elizabeth Lamer; they would take third through sixth place in order of Hennessy (5:55.98), Amezquita (6:02.09), Perkins (6:03.20) and Lamer (6:08.29). Junior Sidney Becker placed first in the 100m hurdles with a personal best of 17.21 while her freshman teammate Anne Johnson took third in the 300m hurdles with a PR of 55.02. The Eagles’ 4x100m relay team was second place to The Dalles; their time of 52.74 was just 0.05 seconds slower than their rival’s. The 4x400m relay team took second as well, in 4:26.22. In the field events, junior JJ Durham placed first in shot put with a PR of 35 feet 8 inches; she was five feet ahead of second place. Senior Sarah Santillan and freshman Claire Meyers finished third and fourth in the discus throw with marks of 78 feet 8 inches and 77 feet even, respectively. Senior Emily Curtis took first in the javelin throw with a season best of 109 feet 8 inches. Senior Olivia Schafer placed third in the long jump with a PR of 15 feet 1 inch, while sophomore Abigail McCormack took fifth with 14 feet 4.75 inches. McCormack returned in the triple jump with a mark of 31 feet 4.50 inches to take second.

Through and through, both Horizon and Hood River demonstrated immense growth from the beginning of their seasons; athletes recorded new personal bests in a collective effort that highlighted their commitment to improving. The meet set teams up for success with its warm weather and clear skies, and the athletes took advantage. This meet marked a turning point in the season, a midpoint from which follows a handful of meets leading to district championships and state. Both schools have athletes capable of qualifying, and this next month will be an exciting one for track and field.

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