Throughout the entire regular season, the Wilsonville girls track and field team and the Sandy boys track and field teams were the odds-on favorites to capture Northwest Oregon Conference titles.
And the district meet played out according to chalk.
The Wilsonville girls team earned the district title by 31.75 points while the Wildcat boys placed second at Hare Field Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12.
The Wilsonville girls team finished with 162 points while Sandy finished second with 130.25 points and Hillsboro placed third with 122.25 points. On the boys side, Sandy won with 176 points, Wilsonville finished second with 112.5 points and St. Helens placed third with 97 points.
Freshman Samantha Prusse and sophomore Jillian Greene catalyzed the girls victory — earning one individual event victory apiece and a team victory together in the 4X400-meter race with Kristine Johnson and Madeleine Klein.
Though Wilsonville trailed for the first three legs of the 4X400 meter race, when Greene, the top 400 runner in the league, received the baton she only trailed by about three paces.
Greene subsequently outpaced Lions anchor Josie Hanna and helped Wilsonville win the race by .56 seconds. Wilsonville finished in 4:15.2 while the Lions finished in 4:15.76.
In another photo finish, Prusse edged teammate Sophia Somerscales in the 1,500.
After Prusse, Somerscales and fellow Wildcat Ciera Ross jumbled together in front of all other racers following three laps, Somerscales and Prusse sprinted ahead and were essentially tied heading into the final stretch. But Prusse's kick was faster and vaulted her to her first district title.
After the race, Prusse was just happy a Wildcat came out on top.
"I was so dead honestly. Whatever happens Wilsonville was going to win so I could care less if she beat me. It was fun racing with her," she said.
Prusse and Somerscales automatically qualified for state while Ross placed fourth in the district (5:18.86).
Despite losing top distance runner Brooklyn Stenstrom to an injury, Wilsonville excelled to a similar degree in the 3,000. Kaitlyn Dougall placed second and qualified for state (11:11.27), Kate Stewart placed third (11:24.13) and Angel Bohn finished fourth (11:29.44).
"We all train together and in the race we race together and pace each other and we are so close that if one of us got last or one of us got first we wouldn't care. We just like the fact that we all race together and are such good friends," Prusse, also a long distance runner, said.
Prusse also qualified for state in the 800 and placed second with a time of 2:26.98.
Greene, who placed fourth in state in 2016, captured her second consecutive 400-meter district title and finished the race in 1:01.72 while La Salle's Philicia Robinson finished in 1:01.97. Despite the close times, Greene was in control for most of the race.
"I think I did good. I'm not pushing myself to the breaking point yet but I definitely had to pick it up the second half of the race and push myself to win," Greene said.
Greene has high expectations for the state meet but is also just excited to race at Hayward Field again this year.
"I want to try to win because that is a realistic goal for me but honestly being there is going to be a great experience," Greene said.
She says she must maintain her speed throughout the entire race in order to reach peak performance.
"I do think the second half of my race I need to push it a little harder because I'm running pretty fast the first half and the second half I'm slowing down so I know for sure I'm gonna have to keep that pace the second half because there are definitely going to be some girls that are going to push me," Greene said.
Ally Finkbeiner earned another Wilsonville girls team victory — placing first in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) — while Marisa Meyer qualified for state and finished second in the triple jump (33-02.5).
In likely the most competitive event of the evening Friday, Wilsonville earned one state qualification and three top six finishes in the shot put. Magie Woginrich qualified for state for the second consecutive year and placed fourth with a mark of 36-05 while Sierra Bishop accumulated a mark of 35-5.5 and finished fifth and Katie Enbody notched a personal record mark of 35-05 to cap her first and only year throwing the shot put to place sixth. Woginrich also placed third in the discus (101-01).
n The Wilsonville boys track and field team didn't earn any event victories but a few Wildcats will represent the team at state.
The 4X400 race on the boys side was quite similar to that of the girls.
The Wildcats held third place and crept up near St. Helens through Dane Collins, Tharren Blood and Reece Green's legs. And similar to Greene, Andrew Merrick catapulted the team up a spot.
Merrick trailed St. Helens' anchor for much of the leg but bolted by him in the final meters to seal a state meet bid. The Wildcats finished in 3:32.19 seconds while St. Helens finished in 3:32.27 seconds.
"I just stuck to my training and did what they taught me, ran hard and kicked when I knew I could get them and kept pushing until the end," Merrick said. "I couldn't have got there without them. Dane ran a great first leg, helping us get top three. Tharren had a good kick in the end to push us toward second and Reece ran his heart out to keep us in the top three and put me in a position to get back in it."
Merrick also came from behind to place second in the 200 — finishing in 22.87 seconds and besting Milwaukie's Jacob Sanders by .05 seconds.
"I just stayed relaxed. Being relaxed helps you not slow down and that allowed me to pass him and get second in the end," Merrick said.
Blood also earned a state qualification against a loaded 100 field.
The Wilsonville senior bolted toward the finish line in near synchronicity with four other runners — who all qualified for state and finished the race within .06 seconds of each other. Blood wound up in second place with a time of 11.1 seconds.
"When I finished I couldn't tell but I couldn't see anyone around me so I thought I made it to state but I didn't know at the time. I was pretty nervous going in because all these guys are fast and we all had similar times. I'm just happy that I made it," Blood said. "I made it to state last year and I wanted to make it again. The tough competition just makes me push harder."
Also, Nicholas Whitaker placed second in the 3,000 and qualified for state (9:16.31) while Jonathan Palmer placed third in the race (9:17.95), Parker Shaw finished fourth and qualified for state in the 300-hurdles (42.13), Draco Bynum qualified for state and finished fourth in the shot put (50-03.5) and also placed fourth in the discus (141-06.5), Eric Reid placed third in the long jump (20-06) and Henry Tellez finished third in the triple jump (41-05.25).