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Finals turbulent for the Tigers


Injuries and absences slow down the boys; Paityn Peterson fourth in the javelin for the girls

Having swept through the Pacific Conference dual meet season 7-0 and then staving off a few injuries to capture the district title, the Newberg boys track team endured a bumpy ride Friday and Saturday at the OSAA 6A state championships.

Zane Burgess and Dan Harper provided the highlights, taking fourth in the 110 hurdles and sixth in the 800, respectively, but the end result of tying for 22nd with nine points didn’t quite resonate with the rest of the Tigers’ season. by: SETH GORDON - So close - Jacoby Wolfe gets most of the way over the bar in an attempt to clear the bar at 6-3 in the high jump Saturday at the 6A state track and field championships in Eugene. Wolfe tied for 12th by clearing 6-2.

“I think with most state meets we’ve been to, we’ve had highs and lows, but probably a few more lows than we expected,” head coach Brandon Ramey said. “It’s a little disappointing for the kids, I would think, but in the same token, we had some really good performances.”

On the girls side, Paityn Peterson placed fourth in the javelin (124-6) to earn the Tigers five points and a tie for 28th as a team.

Peterson’s best performance came on her final throw of preliminaries, as did Thurston’s Amira Johnson, who also topped out at 124-6 to earn a tie. 

Peterson won the tiebreaker because her second-best throw was longer than Johnson’s, 123-9 to 117-8. 

“I was shooting for 130s, but it’s OK,” Peterson said. “My main goal was to have fun because I throw a lot better that way, when I’m relaxed. I’m proud of what I did because even if I had thrown my PR, I still would have gotten fourth.”

If you had asked Ramey at the beginning of the year, he would not have expected Burgess to place fourth in the 110, but that’s what he did Saturday with a time of 14.74 seconds in the finals.

Burgess had been gunning for Jacob Petrie’s school record in the event, but still felt good about how he finished his Newberg career.

“I had a really bad start coming out of the blocks, but it was a pretty good time in the end,” Burgess said. “Me and the kid in lane 1 were kind of hitting each other all the way down, so it was pretty fun.”

Harper deftly avoided a pile up at the finish line in his qualifying heat Friday morning as he and three others — Crater’s Austin Sanders, Centennial’s Thomas Morrell III and David Douglas’ Joshua Kellebrew — approached the finish line four abreast.

Morrell III, who was in between Sanders and Kellebrew, reached out and clipped Sanders as he tried to maintain his balance and the two tumbled across the finish line.

Harper pulled up in time to avoid falling himself, adding a fraction of a second to his time, but his mark was still good enough to qualify seventh for Saturday’s final, while Kellebrew also stayed upright.

Saturday, Harper struggled with the early pace set in the final, but bided his time before making a move on the back stretch, moving up from eighth to sixth with a time of 1:59.22.

“You could see on that backstretch with about 200 to go in his face that he was hurting a little bit, but he was a warrior in that race,” Ramey said. “He was hurting and he still came back and started making up places. It was a fast race and he ran a smart race.”

Junior Jacoby Wolfe cleared the opening height of 6-2 to place in a tie for 12th in the high jump Saturday and was most of the way to clearing 6-3 on two occasions, but caught the bar with his lower legs both times.

“It was weird starting at 6-2, but at least I got that,” Wolfe said. “I think I’ll come back next year and will be a lot better if I keep progressing like I did last year to this year,”

The state meet did not unfold as senior Trevor Danielson might have expected or hoped it would have at this time last year, when he finished fourth with a mark of 199-10.

The Stanford commit has battled a back injury all season and didn’t look like himself Saturday, placing eighth at 175-0.

“It’s not how I wanted to end my career here, but I still have a lot more left this summer and beyond,” Danielson said. “I’ll get my hopes back up and work hard to get back where I was last year.”

Also contributing to the odd feeling of the meet for the Tiger boys was the absence of seniors Andy Tautfest and Jack Kerwin, whom head coach Brandon Ramey chose to hold out from competition for disciplinary reasons.

In addition to missing those two on the 4 x 100 relay, which did not finish the race after sophomore Colin Hyatt pulled up before finishing the first leg, Tautfest missed the 110 and 300 hurdles and Kerwin sat out the triple jump.

After finishing runner up in the 400 as a junior, this weekend’s state meet was also expected to be a showcase for Jonathan Bos, but a hamstring injury prevented him from qualifying for state.

He did make a brief appearance Saturday as a replacement on the 4x100 relay team, and despite missing out on the chance to compete for a state title in the 400, was in good spirits about what was a trying season.

“It just wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “There was a different purpose to this season than trying to run fast. I think I helped out my teammates and that was a good thing.”

Hyatt, who will be one of the team’s leaders next year, participated in the 200 Friday, finishing 13th in qualifying (23.00).

Emma Burridge was the only member of the girls squad to compete Saturday, but the sophomore was unable to clear the opening height of 5-0 in the high jump.

“It’s a daunting thing when you get down here and your opening height is close to your PR,” she said. “Then you look up and there’s 6,000 more people here than you’re used to seeing at your track meets, so just getting here and getting that experience is a huge deal.”

In the team standings, Central Catholic edged Grant 54-53 to win the 6A girls crown, while Jesuit cruised to the team title with 97 points in the boys meet, well ahead of runner-up Sheldon at 55.5.