By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Under sunny and bright blue sky conditions, the North Salem Track and Field team was looking forward to hosting their first meet of the 2016 campaign.
And for Viking Head Coach Don Berger, he’s excited for the task of facing the other coaches in the Greater Valley Conference Wednesday afternoon while having his team improve on their times from their meet versus Gresham before Spring Break.
“There are always a large number of great athletes along with good coaches in the (Greater Valley Conference),” said Berger. “We have good camaraderie with the different coaching staffs, so it is always fun to compete in this league.
“We had very good turnouts at practice during spring break, and have improved both in conditioning and techniques, so we are positive there will be great improvements in our marks.”
For Abel Sandoval, the senior enjoys having the opportunity to perform in front of the home squad.
“It’s great,” said Sandoval. “My family gets to be here, all my friends that I know from high school, so the experience is just great.”
That good turnout and encouragement from friends and family proved beneficial Wednesday, especially for Sandoval who won the 3,000 meter race in 9:55.05, nearly six seconds over second place finisher Cameron Douglas of West Salem.
“It was great,” said Sandoval. “All my teammates were expecting me to get first and I went out there and did my best. During the fifth lap, I was feeling the pain, but on the last two laps, I was going to give it my everything.”
Sandoval was the lone North Salem runner who finished in the Top 5 of the 3,000 meter race.
Abraham Rodriquez won the 110 meter hurdles and finished third in the 300 meter sprint, 1.02 seconds behind teammate Adam Foreman.
Michael Bolen finished second in the Javelin with a 148-foot throw, nine feet-eight inches off the winning throw by West Salem.
But Jimmy Van would win the lone Viking field event on the guys side the Triple Jump with a leap of 40 feet, 5 inches.
On the girls side, freshman Rebekah Miller won the 100 meters and the 200 meter events to go along with her third place finish in the long jump Wednesday afternoon.
Miller’s 100 meter dash broke a 22-year record when she ran the event in 12.38 seconds set by Sasha Spencer. Her 200 meter time was the second best in school program history with a 25.88 dash, it was second to Spencer in the school history books.
Elizabeth Aldama (3,000 meters) and Madison Willhoft (1,500 meters) both finish third in their respective events.
North Salem will have a week off until their next meet when they host Forest Grove Wednesday April 6 at home.
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
PHOTOS BY JEREMY MCDONALD