By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.- For the first time since their Icebreaker event earlier in the month, the Sprague High School Track and Field team finally got to face someone that is not their own when they traveled to North Salem High School for the five-team, Greater Valley Conference meet Wednesday afternoon.
Head Coach Brent Charles likes how his team has improved to this point though they are still healing up as a unit.
“We’ve improved by having a large group at the workouts before and during Spring Break that were working on their events,” he said. “We’ve healed up a bit, still not great for this meet today. Austin Kleinman and Keaton Beckmann are still not competing for the boys today but will be competing on Friday.
“Alexa Smith and Mia Diaz are back on the girls side and they were both members of our 1st place 4×100 Relay team and 2nd place 4×400 Relay team—so that will help on the girls side.”
Though her 4×400 relay team finished third in a hard fought field of five teams, Alexa Smith was proud of how they did as a unit and as a team overall
“It’s an amazing race,” said Smith. “I feel (like) I’m so connected to my team because it’s so fast paced and I feel proud of how I did, how my whole team did and everything just felt right.
“As a team, I’m really proud. I’m really proud to be a part of Sprague.”
Nataila Cedillo-Rodriquez, who finished second in the 300 hurdles, fifth in the 100 meters and was part of the 4×400 team with Smith, agreed with her teammate that they did all they could do.
“I thought we did the best we could, that’s all we could ask for,” said Cedillo-Rodriquez. “I mean the 4×4 is a full-on sprint basically the whole way, so it takes guts to do it. But I’m really proud and I thought we pulled through.”
Other notables from the meet include winners in the 800 meters (Ellie Stuart), and Shot Put (Dylan Smith)
Kyle Rosenau won in the Discus and finished second in the Shot Put. Leah Olivo (High Jump), Dane McKinney (Triple Jump) both finished second in the meet.
For Charles, he was impressed with how the new guys like Nick Brotton, Andrew Christensen, Sophina Oum are contributing alongside the veterans like Leah Olivo.
The one person, who really stuck out as well, said Charles, was Megan Sims. Sims finished both the Shot Put and Discus in fourth place, PR-ing in both events.
“Megan Sims had a really good discus throw today, she had a great series,” said Charles. “She did great in the throws.”
Lexie Harman also PR’d in her javelin event while Ginger Murnieks showed why she’s the number one ranked athlete in the 200 meters with a 2:20 time.
Overall, Charles is impressed with how his Olympian team is competing early on in the 2016 campaign.
“We’re competing hard,” said Charles. “A lot of guys who are kind of new to track are really showing that they’re good competitors and are starting to get it. Beyond that, we’re competing hard.
“Realistically, this is the second meet of the year and even though it’s a invitational type feel, this is only the second meet of the year. Overall, we’re still having a lot of kids who are learning how to do things and they’re doing a good job.”
Sprague will have a day off before taking part in the Titan Track Classic Friday at West Salem High School.
PHOTO GALLERY BY JEREMY MCDONALD
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81