Tigard track team is up to the challenge
McMINNVILLE — Challenges.
Tigard High School junior Braden Lenzy faced quite a challenge. He had to sprinted past the best the Three Rivers League had to offer not once, not twice, but three times.
Meanwhile, Tigard senior Sareena Patzke had to face an unexpected, and unwelcome challenge. She not only had to take on Three Rivers League competition, but she also had to overcome her own illness.
Well, Lenzy and Patzke took on their challenges head on — and they reigned supreme.
The Tiger standouts were the top male and female point scorers at the Three Rivers League district track and field championships, held May 10 and May 12 at Linfield College.
"It was a goal," Lenzy said of winning the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes at the district meet. "Yeah, it was a challenge. I had no rest, but I really wanted it."
Meanwhile, Patzke, who shared the female top point-scorer honors with Lake Oswego sophomore Maddie DeBorde, was battling a bout of the flu during Friday's district competition. She had a fever of 100.5 degrees, in addition to "throwing up all night," she said.
Despite that, Patzke triumphed in the 100-meter high hurdles while also placing second in the triple jump during Friday's action.
"I got by on Pedialyte and Ritz Crackers," she said with a smile.
Up next for Lenzy and Patzke, as well as many other Tigers, will be the Class 6A state championships.
The top two finishers in each event at the district meet, as well as those competitors and relay teams that meet state-qualifying standards, and those who earn wild-card bids, advance to compete at the Class 6A state meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene.
"Yeah, I'm really looking forward to state," Lenzy said.
He certainly should have plenty of momentum on his side going into the state meet following his phenomenal performance at the Three Rivers League district meet.
Lenzy was the defending district champion in the 200 and the 400. This year, he wanted to add the 100 to the mix.
"I just wanted to win the 100, 200 and the 400," he said of that decision.
First up in Friday's finals, Lenzy sprinted to victory in the 100 in a time of 11.05 seconds. Soon after — very soon — Lenzy triumphed in the 400 in 50.23.
But, after crossing the finish line in that race, instead of celebrating, Lenzy spotted his Tigard teammate, junior Skylar Holloway still on the track after suffering an ankle injury during the race. After Holloway went on to finish the race in his own gutsy performance, Lenzy went up to him, gave him a hug, and helped him off the track.
"He's one of the most dedicated track kids you'll ever see," Lenzy said of Holloway. "He works harder than anyone, and he's such a great teammate."
Lenzy would go on to cap off his sprint triple crown by running to victory in the 200 in 22.63.
In addition to all of that, Lenzy, running a strong anchor leg, teamed with freshman Hunter Gilbert, junior Cole Green and senior Cole Bankston to take second place in the 4 x 400 relay in 3:26.50.
Lenzy, the defending Class 6A state champion in the 400, is looking for big things at this year's state meet.
"Obviously, the goal is to win all three," he said of the 100, 200 and 400. "And to P.R. (set a personal record) in the 4 x 400."
Lenzy's biggest challenge at state could possibly come in the 100, where he'll likely face Beaverton senior Anthony Albright. The two have already raced twice in the 100 this season, with each winning once by a very slim margin.
"It's going to be one-versus-one," Lenzy said. "We'll see who wins."
In addition to the relay, Green will also be going to state in the 400. He ran to second place in that event at district in a time of 51.89.
Tigard senior Aksel Thorsfeldt cleared 13 feet, 8 inches to take third place in the pole vault and earn a state bid. Tiger junior Peyton Kuffel earned a state berth with his third-place throw of 159-3 in the javelin.
Also for the Tigard boys at district, senior Zane Woodward was fourth in the 200 at 23.27 and Gilbert was fourth in the 800 at 2:00.16.
The Tigard boys finished in second place in the team standings at the district meet with 115.33 points.
On May 10, before suffering her illness, Patzke took first place in the long jump event at the district meet with a school-record mark of 18-5.
"My goal was to get the school record," Patzke said. "I was excited."
On Friday, while battling illness, Patzke took second place in the triple jump with a mark of 35-8. Later in the meet, she ran in the finals of the 100 high hurdles — an even she won at district each of the past two years.
Patzke made it three in a row, as she won this year's race in a time of 15.66.
"It was a little bit of a slow start, but I picked it up," she said. "I really wanted it. At the end of the race, I almost threw up. But now I get to go home and sleep."
And, Patzke says, she'll be ready for state.
"I'd like to P.R. In the long jump and get in the 14s in the high hurdles," she said. "And I'd like to get a school record in the triple jump."
The Tigard girls had another district champion in senior Victoria Prouty, who cleared 11-1 to take first place in the pole vault.
Tiger junior Lauren Paven, the defending Class 6A state champion in the 400, will be going to state in a pair of events.
She took second in the 100 at district in a time of 12.69, which put her just .03 behind DeBorde in that race, and she was second in the 400 in 57.23. She finished second to Newberg's Madison Hergert, who ran 56.22 in that race. They are the top two seeds in the 400 going into the state meet.
Also for the Tigard girls at district, freshman Elizabeth Brands was third in the 1,500 in 4:46.94, junior Gabby McGaughey was fourth in the 300 low hurdles in 48.02 and sophomore Mallory Harbison was fourth in the triple jump at 34-1.5.
The Tigard girls finished in third place in the team standings at the district meet with 99 points.
Newberg won both the boys and girls district team titles.
Action at the Class 6A state track and field championships is slated to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the first field event starts at 9:30 a.m. and the first running event will begin at 12:46 p.m.