Mitchell Gable wants to be a state champion and he’s willing to do the hard work to get there.

For the South Albany junior, that started at the end of last track and field season when he went to coach Bryce Bennett for advice.

“He basically asked me ... ‘what do I need to be doing during the summer?’ Bennett said Wednesday prior to the Rebels’ home dual meet with Silverton.

Gable, third in the 400 meters at the 5A state meet last spring, trained during the summer then took a zero-period running class when school started up again in the fall and continued it through the winter.

“I would wake up at 5:30 and go run and do workouts every morning,” Gable said.

Then, when basketball season rolled around, Gable did 400-meter workouts after school.

That extra work has paid off, with Gable putting up some good times and marks early in the season.

Last week, at the East County Classic in Gresham, he won the 400 in 50.47 seconds, not far off the personal-best 49.95 he clocked in last year’s state final.

“I had some competition but I didn’t really have anyone to push me. I’m excited to have somebody push me to see how fast I can run it,” Gable said.

Gable didn’t run the 400 Wednesday with the Springfield Rotary Invitational coming up on Friday. He instead ran — and won — the 800 as a training run.

He equaled his high jump PR Wednesday, clearing 6-2 on his third and final attempt at the height to take second.

Gable was third in the Mid-Willamette Conference meet in the 200. He entered Wednesday’s competition with the conference’s second-best time of the season at 23.56.

South senior Brittni Rogers has some motivation after a solid season in 2011.

She was the Mid-Willamette Conference runner-up in the girls 100 high hurdles and went on to take fifth at state with a PR of 45.91.

Rogers set a PR of 16.48 in a district preliminary but finished sixth in the final.

She entered Wednesday’s meet with the sixth-best 5A time for the season in the 300 low hurdles and seventh in the 100 hurdles.

“I’ve been improving a lot on my 100 hurdles. We’ve been focusing on that a lot this year,” Rogers said.

Unfortunately, Bennett adds, the Mid-Willamette is filled with some of the state’s top hurdlers, which will make qualifying for state again a challenge.

Those finishing in the top two in each event at the district meet and those meeting qualifying times and marks move on to state.

Adam Allen also had a strong season last year and hopes to improve on that.

Allen, a senior, was fourth at state in the 300 intermediate hurdles in 41.30, just off his PR of 40.92.

He was the Mid-Willamette runner-up to Silverton’s Julian Canda in both hurdles races in the 2011 district finals. That included Allen’s 15.65 PR in the 110 hurdles final.

Allen said he’s treating every early season race as a workout, with no concern with times.

“They’re all workouts right now. We don’t really take a rest day, we just keep working out,” he said. “We’re not looking for fast times yet. That comes later.”

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