LEBANON — As Hayden Watts described it himself, the last round of the boys triple jump finals was a roller coaster of emotions for the South Albany High senior.
Watts put together his best triple mark on his final attempt to take the lead with just one jumper remaining Thursday to take the lead at the Mid-Willamette Conference track and field district meet at Heath Stadium.
There was reason to celebrate, but North Salem’s Michael Endicott quieted that quickly.
Endicott equaled Watts’ mark of 43 feet, 10½ inches and won the competition because he had a better second-best mark on the day.
“I was really excited and then I saw him jump and I knew it was a good jump,” Watts said. “It hurt, but it was good to know that I’ll go to state and I’ll have another chance to improve and maybe place better than him.”
South’s Eli Nafziger was third at 41-2¾.
The top two placers in each event, those reaching automatic qualifying standards and others receiving wild-card berths based on district results advance to next week’s 5A state meet at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham.
Silverton won the team title with 152 points, 22 better than runner-up Crescent Valley. West Albany was fifth, South Albany sixth, Corvallis eighth and Lebanon ninth in the nine-team meet.
Watts entered the meet with a conference-best 44-0, his personal best. His best jump Thursday put a shadow on that.
“I just really focused and knew I had to get something big. I was doing what I could do the whole day,” he said. “I put it all together in my head and came down the runway with good speed. My speed really carried me deep into the pit.”
Watts also helped his team take third in the 4x100-meter relay in 43.99 seconds.
Crescent Valley junior Erik Ventura, who won the high jump and was second in the long jump, was the boys high-point scorer of the meet.
Crescent Valley senior Luca Greeven had no shortage of motivation and fuel to perform when he took the start line for the 110-meter hurdles.
Last year on the same track, he entered the meet seeded second but gashed his knee going over a hurdle and took seventh.
Greeven was back in the same spot this year, seeded second, and made up for past failures. But not without some dramatics.
He finished second after stepping over his own shoelace several hurdles from the finish and fell over the finish line, giving him some more road rash.
“To be able to come back and beat that pressure was pretty outstanding,” Greeven said.
Based on season-best times entering the meet, Greeven had about a half-second on North Salem’s Alexander Huerta. But it didn’t turn out that way.
Greeven finished in 16.05 and Huerta, making up ground late, was third in 16.07.
“Third place definitely gave me a run for my money,” Greeven said. “I had a pretty big gap coming into this, but definitely was right up there.”
Corvallis junior Sebbie Law advanced to state with second in the 400 (personal-best 50.11) and was also third in the 200 (23.04).
Crescent Valley senior Kaimana “Bubba” Wa’a also moved on with a runner-up finish in the shot put (49-7¼). West Albany sophomore Aiden Paul was third (48-11¾).
West Albany senior Mitchell Morse was third in the javelin (156-8).
Crescent Valley sophomore Jordan Henke broke his previous 800 personal best by more than a second to take fourth in 1:59.44.
Henke was part of a field that included some of the top 5A runners in the state. North Salem’s David Rojas was the winner 1:55.07.
He said that strength up front helped him “a lot, especially in the last 200. That’s usually the hardest part of the race for me. Seeing people in the last 200 makes me feel really confident.
“I really wanted to go under 2 and I did. I wanted to try to get second or third. I was ranked fourth so it really doesn’t change how I feel about it.”