South Albany High could be on top of the awards stand numerous times should seeds hold at this week’s Mid-Willamette Conference track and field district meet.
The Rebels have the top times or marks of the season in five different events.
Senior Logan Whittaker has the conference’s best marks in the boys high jump (6 feet, 4 inches) and triple jump (41-1) and is seeded third in the 110-meter high hurdles (16.94 seconds). He posted all three new personal bests in April.
“I think he’s a little more physically strong, and with that physical ability he’s been able to branch out into some different events,” South coach Jeff Louber said.
The district meet is Wednesday and Thursday in Lebanon.
The top two placers in each event, plus those reaching automatic standards or receiving a wild card based on district results, qualify for the state meet, May 17-19 at Hayward Field in Eugene.
Rebels junior Eli Nafziger is the favorite in the boys long jump.
Louber said Nafziger has improved his consistency this spring compared to the past.
“Not a lot of drop-offs” which are common in the event, the coach said. “I expect him to stay consistent going to districts.”
Lebanon’s Raymond Knuth is a solid contender in the sprints, seeded second in the 100 and third in the 200. He’s ran a personal-best 11.19 this season.
Knuth also runs the anchor on the second-seeded 4x100 relay team.
“Pretty good out of the block. He’s phenomenally quick, about as fast as we’ve had,” Warriors coach Josh Dykes said.
Teammate Tanner Acosta, a senior, made the state meet in the high jump two years ago but missed out in 2017.
He’s seeded fourth with a season best of 6-0. He set his PR of 6-1 in 2016. Acosta also has the conference’s second-fastest 200 time of the spring at 23.17 and runs on the short relay.
“He’s pretty eager and hungry,” Dykes said.
Lebanon’s Dillan Weber and Kyler Alley are seeded second and third, respectively, in the javelin.
Lebanon senior Hannah Mason has a challenge ahead of her if she hopes to qualify for the state meet.
Mason is entered in loaded fields in the 1,500 and 3,000. She has the conference’s third-best time in the 1,500 (4:54.97) after setting the school record in the Rob Allen Invitational on April 27 at Heath Stadium. She’s fourth in the 3,000 at 10:47.4.
Crescent Valley’s Sophie Fisher, Sunitha Black and Kela Leamy are in the 5A season top 10 in both races and will be shooting for the automatic standards (4:48.49, 10:33.84) in hopes that all three will qualify.
Two statewide wild-card spots are available in each event should the use of automatic standards not fill those positions.
“You get to state in the 1,500 or 3,000 in our league, you’ve definitely earned it,” Dykes said.
Lebanon senior Morgan Hopkins is seeded second in the shot put and fifth in the discus.
Hopkins has delivered consistent marks this season and is capable of a bigger one, as she showed at state last year with possibly the biggest upset of the entire meet to win the shot put.
She threw 38-8½ to win state. Her best mark this spring is 35-9½.
Lebanon sophomore Natalie Tomlin, the conference’s triple jump leader, has been battling an ankle injury recently. But she was back and practice this week and looked strong, Dykes said.
South Albany’s Katie Mayhue is the top seed in the high jump and second seed in the long jump behind teammate Preston Johnson.
Mayhue has dealt with a foot injury in recent weeks but is getting healthier, Louber said.
Johnson has been working hard and shown more focus and leadership this year. The result has been an improvement of 11 inches over last year for the junior.
“Before the season started she told me she had a goal to go to districts and go to state,” Louber said.
Sweet Home heads into the Sky-Em Conference district meet with four boys top seeds and four girls top seeds.
The meet is Thursday and Saturday at Sisters.
Senior Bethany Gingerich has had an incredible season. She enters the meet seeded first in the 100 hurdles (16.18) and 300 hurdles (46.45). She’ll also run legs on the top-seeded 4x400 relay and the third-seeded 4x100 relay.
Gingerich’s season-best 300 hurdles time leads 4A this spring. Teammate Megan Hager is seeded first in the discus and second in the shot put.
Noah Dinsfriend has the conference’s top time in the boys 300 hurdles (41.43) and is seeded second in the 110 hurdles (16.27).
Dinsfriend, a junior, also runs on the top-seeded 4x400 relay and second-seeded 4x100 relay.
Jake Swanson is the top seed in the javelin. Austin Stevens is seeded second in the long jump and third in the 100. Eric Blanchard is the second seed in the pole vault.