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Forest Grove track team honors seniors


Senior class is recognized during Vikings' final home dual meet of the season

Last Wednesday, during the final home meet of the season, the Forest Grove track and field program honored its seniors.

Between the 3,000 meters and the meet-ending 4x400 relay against Glencoe, the public address announcer named off all of the Viking seniors and their parents, who gathered on the infield at the 50-yard line to be recognized.

Those seniors did a lot during the meet to get noticed, too.

Among them, Lizzie Dahlke set personal-best marks to win the shot put and discus, helping the Forest Grove girls to a narrow 78-67 loss. And Paul Schot set a new personal standard in the long jump to help the boys pick up their first Pacific Conference win of the season, 88-57.

“They’ve worked hard. They’ve shown the community and everything they deserve it,” Forest Grove coach Scott McCahon said after the meet, referring to the school’s new track. “A lot of them laid their skin out tonight on that track.”

Distance runner Connor Pitt emerged with one of the breakthrough showings of the meet. After running most of the 3,000 meters behind freshman teammate Murimi Nyamu, the senior obliterated his personal best with a mark of 9 minutes, 14.19 seconds. He set his former PR of 9:42.30 in the team’s first dual meet of the season at Tualatin. The new mark was the conference’s third-fastest heading into this week. On Wednesday, Nyamu was second behind Pitt in 9:26.02.

Dahlke did a lot of the heavy lifting — both literally and figuratively — for the girls team with her wins in the throws. Her toss of 109 feet, 8 inches in the discus was a personal best by more than six feet, while her shot put mark of 33-1¼ upped her best by more than five inches. Both marks were the fifth-longest in the conference heading into this week.

“I’m just sad that it’s going to be the last time I’m actually going to throw at a meet here,” said Dahlke, who was sixth in the conference in the discus last season. “I’ve learned a lot here during the meets, and ... I don’t know, I’m kind of sad that track season’s almost over.”

For Schot, his winning long jump of 20-8½ was an improvement of five inches over his old mark, set last year at the Pacific Conference meet, in which he finished fifth. After dealing with some nagging irritations earlier this year, Schot feels he is starting to round into form.

“It’s a big confidence-booster going into the last few meets,” noted Schot, who also was second to teammate Jon Cirlincione in the high jump last Wednesday.

But it was not just the seniors like Dahlke and Schot who had a good meet. Alyssa Villalobos, the Vikings’ talented freshman multi-event threat, won the long jump, finished third in the high hurdles, and ran a leg on the winning long relay.

Villalobos went 16-5½ in the long jump, an improvement of 3½ inches and the second-best jump in the conference entering this week. In the high hurdles, a relatively new event for her, her time of 17.38 also was a personal best. Villalobos teamed with Jessica Bickford, Corinne Reed and Bailey Mickel in the 1,600 relay (4:25.47).

Other winners on the girls’ side for Forest Grove were Julia Khoury, who passed Glencoe’s Ruth Teklu late in the homestretch of the 800 for the win in 2:33.18, and Emilia Anderson in the 3,000 (11:25.22).

For the boys meet, the Vikings did much of their damage in the seven field events. In addition to Schot’s long jump win, Tate de Sully added victories in the shot put (43-1½) and the discus (125-10). Cirlincione went 5-8 in his high jump win — to Schot’s second-place effort of 5-6 — and Richard Elwess leaped 38-8½ to win the triple jump.

On the track, Judd Parson, another senior, won the 1,500 in 4:21.94. In the 110 hurdles, Zac Collins went 17.19 despite battling illness and led Ben Pearson and Jakob Orlowsky to a sweep, while Orlowsky edged Ricky Torres by five one-hundredths of a second to win the 300 hurdles (45.24).

And though the long relay team placed second to the Crimson Tide, the quartet of Torres, Duncan Stewart, Christian Guerra and Levi Boyer ran 3:33.39, a season improvement of about five seconds.

The Vikings travel to Century today for their final dual meet action of the season. In addition to the Jaguars, Newberg and Tigard will be at the meet. After that, Forest Grove’s varsity is off until next Thursday and Friday, when the team heads to Tualatin for the Pacific Conference district meet.