Team XO Invite

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

University of Oregon's Legendary Hayward Field
Eugene, OR

a DyeStat featured meet



Distance Events Summary| Sprints, Hurdles & Field Summary

- by Dave Devine

Boys 3000 Meter

With a wind-driven rain lashing their faces, nobody wanted to take up pace-making chores in the opening lap of the boy’s 3000.  A formless pack shuffled through 400 in 74.6 before first Dylan Coleman (Summit), and then Robbie Maletis (Jesuit) took their places at the front.  Just past 1600m, ninth-seeded Ken Scoggin (Cottage Grove) surged down the backstretch to the lead, only to be absorbed by the pack half a lap later.  “I was trying to test it,” he said, “to see if they would stick with me, and they stayed, so I pulled back a bit.”  The test served to break up the pack, and left Coleman dragging a strung out line through 2000 in 6:03.9.  Coleman pulled clear with 600 to go, and seemed to have the race in hand, but a revived Scoggin hung tight and challenged down the backstretch.  With 150m to go Scoggin accelerated and dropped the field for his first big win outdoors and a nice PR in 9:01.19.  “I guess I have faith in my kick,” the new XO Boys 3000 champ grinned.  Maletis from Jesuit got up for 2nd in 9:04.06, while Coleman, after leading much of the way, faded to third in 9:04.48.

Girls 3000 Meter

Defending 4A champion Claire Michel (Clackamas) has been working on her speed this year, dropping down for some early season 1500s as outdoor track opens.  The extra work came in handy in the last lap of the Girls 3000.  Michel jumped out to an early lead, but had a pack trailing her through a 1600 split of 5:28.7.  Through the next 200 the group was whittled to three— Michel, Hayley Belli of Philomath, and Bailey Schutte of Jesuit—with Michel still leading.  At 2k, Belli and Michel drew clear of Schutte and would duel for the lead the rest of the way.  Belli made a decisive move on the penultimate backstretch and accelerated through the curve, but still found Michel on her shoulder at the bell.  That’s when Claire Michel put her extra speed work into play.  “In the last lap I was like, okay, you really need to go now.”  She surged away down the backstretch and powered home to a 10:22.45, with Belli closing to finish second in 10:24.10.  “I just try to run my own race and finish as strong as I can,” Michel said afterwards. “My PR is 10:07, but I’m looking to go sub-10 this year.”

Boys 1500 Meter

Before he’d even reached the first quarter, Hermiston sophomore Alex Ringe already had the grandstand buzzing, although perhaps not for the reasons he might have imagined.  Rolling down the homestretch less than 300m into the race, he’d forged a twenty meter lead on a field that seemed content to let him go.  “Kid’s a little excited,” one fan said grimly.  “Running on adrenaline,” the man next to him replied, “that field’s coming back.”  But the field never did.  Ringe, with a 4:04 1500 PR coming in, set out at something closer to 4:04 mile pace.  Through 400 in 61.8 and 800 in 2:08.7, he maintained his lead wire-to-wire, digging deep in the last 200m when pre-race favorite Bradley Taylor (Oakridge) tried to mount a surge.  As Ringe coasted home in 4:06.35, still four seconds clear of the field, fans were shaking their heads for a different reason.  The kid pulled it off. “I guess a lot of people were saying that I was going to die,” Ringe reflected, “but I run a lot of 800’s and that’s usually how I run it, all out...I expected them, but nobody ever came.”

Girls 1500 Meter

On a day when valid excuses for slow times were literally falling out of the sky, Sandy senior Sheryl Page didn’t need any.  She sped to meet records in both the Girls 1500 and 800 meter races.  Page, the defending 4A 1500 meter champ, admitted to early-season jitters before the race, and with good reason.  Lined up next to her was promising Summit freshman Alyssa O’Connor, who had nipped Page a week earlier in a low-key tune-up meet.  The two pulled immediately clear at the gun, bringing Lincoln junior Marsha Lampi along in their wake.  They stayed close through 400 (67.8) before Page asserted herself down the backstretch and set out on her own.  O’Connor maintained tenuous contact through the next two laps, but the race was Page’s to win.  Down the windy homestretch O’Connor made a valiant push, but Page had opened too wide a lead and broke the tape with a 4:39.71 to O’Connor’s 4:42.29.  Lampi hung on for third in 4:50.24.  “It was kind of hard,” Page said, attempting to stay warm between races, “you have to get out and there and tell your body that you can run run with your heart.”

Boys 3000 Meter Steeplechase
Central Catholic sophomore Taylor Morgan has understandably spent much of this year in the shadow of his more renowned teammate, senior Kenny Klotz.  Klotz was the Nike Team National individual champion and a Footlocker finalist.  On Saturday, with the sun peeking out for the first time all day, Morgan literally slipped out of his teammate’s shadow and into the slimmest margin of daylight.  Four-hundredths of a second worth of daylight to be exact.  Although two years Klotz’s junior, Morgan had more experience with the steeplechase, winning a Junior Olympic title last summer in the 15-16 year-old boys 2000m steeple.  Preparation for Klotz was limited to practicing hurdles and a few runs at the water jump during warm-ups.  The two hung close throughout the race, hurdling each barrier cleanly as their competitors tired and began lead foot push-offs.  Klotz looked strongest mid-race, opening a gap on Morgan and leading at the final water jump.  With one barrier to go, it looked as if the race was in hand.  Morgan cleared the last barrier and found himself 10 meters back with 120 to go.  Sprinting hard, he caught his teammate and beat him with a lunge at the line.  9:38.33 to 9:38.37.  “Kenny took the lead and I thought I was gonna die,” an excited Morgan said afterwards, “I went over that last hurdle and he was just so close I was like, go for it all, and barely got past him.  I wouldn’t have been happy with myself if I knew I didn’t give it everything I had, all the way to the line.”

Sprints, Hurdles, and Field

Boys 110 and 300 Meter Hurdles

The boys hurdle events were billed as a clash of class titans, pitting 4A state champion Tyler McBee (Beaverton) against 2A champion Marshall Ackley (Nysaa).  The races lived up to the billing, with the two champions splitting the titles.  In the 110 hurdles they dueled side-by-side, McBee clearing the final hurdle with a slight lead and out-leaning Ackley at the tape, 15.37 to 15.42.  “It was the first time I ever raced [Ackley],” McBee said after the race, “he’s pretty good.”  A little over an hour later, McBee discovered just how good.  At the 300m distance, Ackley reversed the earlier finish, surging past the grandstand over the last three hurdles to secure his own XO title in 39.48. McBee, of course, was second, in 39.91.  

Girls 100 and 300 Meter Hurdles

The final heat of the girls 100 meter hurdles was proclaimed the “hot heat” of the day by the stadium announcer.  Shaking out at the top of the straight were 4A and defending XO Invite champion Bianca Mathabane (Jr., Lincoln), 1A state champion Emily Holding (Jr., Damascus Christian) and 2A runner-up Maddie Miller (Jr., Catlin Gabel).  If the prospect of a showdown with fellow state finalists was unnerving to Mathabane, she wasn’t showing.  “I’ve learned to focus on myself and what I’m trying to achieve in my race,” she said, “My coaches are always telling me—focus, focus, focus.” Folding into the blocks, she stared down the long lane of hurdles and did exactly that, visualizing a win.  Less than 16 seconds later, her vision became reality.  Showing crisp form that left every hurdle intact, Mathabane powered into a headwind, running 15.29.  The time left her a bit disappointed.  “I was hoping not to be in the fifteens at all this year, but you just have to take the weather for what it is.”  In the 300 hurdles she faced an even greater challenge than the weather.  Barely leading off the final hurdle, she was swallowed up by Jewel Martin and Alyssa Rife, charging up either side, and seemed destined for third.  A desperate lunge at the line preserved her narrow 45.72 win, and her second title of the day.   

Girls 400 Meter

Through the first 350 meters, it appeared the XO Invite would be the Oregon coming out party for Devon Williams.  Williams, who established herself as a national-caliber runner two years ago in Maryland, is now enrolled at Eugene’s Churchill High School.  Saturday’s invite was her first big meet as a Lancer, and expectations ran high.  She exploded from the blocks in lane 5, tearing down the backstretch with her long, efficient stride, socks pulled up to her knees.  Out of the turn she still seemed in control, driving her arms and powering home.  And then Sandy junior Brenna Hoffman spoiled the party.  Closing quickly down the stretch, Hoffman caught Williams from behind, drawing even with 50 meters to go and pulling clear for the 58.08 win.  Annie Hayward (Newport), rolling in lane 7, slipped past Williams at the line for second, 58.74 to 58.97.  After the race, Hoffman, who has a 56.93 PR from last year, said she decided to remain patient and let the race come back to her. “What went through my head,” she laughed, displaying the XO Invite backpack that went to each winner, “was, ‘I want a backpack really bad.’”  With patience and a devastating kick, she walked away with one.

Boys 400 Meter and 4x400 Meter Relay

When you’re a long sprinter with range from 200 to 800 and a 400 PR of 46.47 (with a sub-46 relay leg in the Pan-Am Games), expectations run high.  Fans are hoping for magic every time you settle into the blocks.  Nate Anderson (Benson) is realistic enough to know that you can’t deliver in every race.  Only three weeks removed from a minor hamstring strain, and struggling to stay warm on a damp, blustery day, Anderson dialed it back in the 400m and still came away with the win. “Today was real cold. I warmed up, but [it was] too cold, rainy, my muscles were tight so I just strided. You know, easy 400."  Running out of lane 4, Anderson made up the stagger through the first curve, powered smoothly down the backstretch and emerged from the far turn 10 meters clear.  He stopped the clock at 48.62, more than a second and a half up on the nearest competitor.  Opting out of a scheduled 200 meter race, he returned later in the evening to anchor his Benson team to victory with an understated but still dominant carry in the boys 4x400.    

Boys High Jump

In an event that was supposed to feature 4A state champion Tyler Poppe (Churchill), 4A runner-up Aaron McVein (Sheldon), and 2A second placer Jake Redfield (Oakland) battling for state high jump supremacy, an unheralded freshman  stole the thunder.  Barry Peiskee, a teammate of McVein’s at Sheldon, managed the win in less than ideal conditions.  “I wasn’t expecting to win,” Peiskee said after collecting his XO Invite backpack, “so I didn’t go in trying to win, but when I saw I had a chance, that’s when I started to get revved up and excited.  It was a lot of fun.”  On a rain-slick apron that saw at least one competitor crash into the uprights, it was also a messy affair.  None of the jumpers matched their previous bests, with the top three all failing at 6-5, but Peiskee eked out the win on the countback to earlier misses.  It was a victory that gave him both confidence and a new goal for the year.  “I was originally hoping for 6-6, but now I’m shooting for 6-8.”