Team XO Invite

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

University of Oregon's Legendary Hayward Field

a DyeStat featured meet

"It's Raining Cats and Crusaders"

- Part I -

Eugene, Oregon - On a day when the XO Invite welcomed 1300 high school track and field athletes to the home of the Ducks, the weather delivered the sort of day that only a duck could love.  A drenching rain slashed sideways across the stadium for much of the afternoon, soaking the grandstand, canceling the pole vault, leaving puddles in lane 1 and a small pond at the far end of the shot put pit.  Despite the elements, a host of teams rallied for the coveted XO Trophy, presented to the highest scoring co-ed team of the day.  Jesuit High School, with a squad that swells into the hundreds each spring, needed every one of their top performers to hold off a game Lincoln lineup that traded the lead back and forth throughout the day.

            Lincoln kept things interesting right through the last event, casting doubt on the outcome until the results of the final heat of the girl’s 4x400 was posted.  The Cardinals headed into that relay down a handful of points to the Jesuit Crusaders and needing something close to a miracle.  Relegated to the second heat of four in the girl’s 4x400, based on their slower seed time, they’d have to post a fast winning time and hope it stood up through the next two rounds.  They almost pulled it off. 

            The Lincoln girls put in a heroic effort, gapping the field for a 4:16.74 mark, three seconds up on their seed time. Their anchor hammered down the homestretch with a big lead, keenly aware of the stakes at hand.  Then it was sit and wait for the Cardinals, while the final two heats unfolded.  Jesuit’s girls were in the last of the four heats, seeded eighth.  They’d have to at least better Lincoln’s time to guarantee the win for their team.  In a tightly contested final, which Jesuit led at the break, the Crusader girls came up with just enough to get it done, finishing fifth in their heat with a 4:12.13, closing the door on the first XO trophy for the Jesuit juggernaut.  Final score: Jesuit 124, Lincoln 119, followed by Summit with 105.79 and Benson 95.  Marist was the top non-4A team, earning an XO Trophy of their own.

Key individual performances: Latasha Essien (Reynolds HS) powered away for impressive wins in both the girl’s 100 and 200 meter races.  Nate Anderson (Benson HS) nursing a strained hamstring, cruised to an easy victory in the 400m, decided against competing in the 200, and then returned to anchor his team’s 4x400 relay to a 3:28.44 win. Sheryl Page (Sandy HS) ignored the daunting rain for meet records in both the girl’s 800 (2:14.10) and 1500 (4:39.71) meter events.  Bianca Mathabane (Lincoln HS) lived up to her billing in the hurdles, coming in as a defending XO champion and emerging with wins in both the 100m and 300m hurdles.  The Central Catholic distance squad put up strong marks, with a 1-2 dive-at-the-finish conclusion to the boy’s steeplechase (Taylor Morgan 9:38.33 and Kenny Klotz 9:38.37) and a dominant performance in the Distance Medley with Klotz on anchor (10:34.95; Jesuit second in 10:58.21).

Individual event profiles and athlete comments to follow.