By Jeremy McDonald
ALOHA, Ore.– There back at it again.
The McKay 4×100 team that came together late in 2016, once on April 13 versus South Salem, then a ‘official’ start on April 3 versus Sprague; the team has held strong since then as all four of them returned in 2017.
There’s Zach Hammack the towering runner on the unit, then there’s the speed demon twins in Avori Miranda and Israel Garza, and then you got the Karate Kid himself in Damian Rios that assembles the 4×1 team that finished third at the Greater Valley Conference District meet at McMinnville in 2016 en route to a 11th-place finish at 6A State last year.
For the ‘Team of Destiny’ of sorts, seeing the same people from last year helped them continue their success into 2017.
“I think it helpful how we got that same team structure this year,” said Miranda. “Like last year we had to go and go with another person, but this year we had the same team which helps a lot.”
“We’re definitely improving too, every meet and get faster” adds Garza. “From the start of last meet to now, we definitely pull it off.”
Performing at State last year gave them the taste of where they need to be at entering this year, and how to get to the point of podium placing and how to improve.
“I think it’s great competition and it’s an honor to be there because it’s a great place to be, and you feel good about being there too because you made it that far,” said Miranda.
In their first meet of the year, the McKay Icebreaker, they completed the 4×100 loop in a 44.13 time for a first-place finish; and by the time they finished at the Aloha Preview with a time of 43. 46.
“A lot of our players got bigger and faster, day-by-day,” said Garza.”We just got to work on the little things, especially hand-offs you know. Once we get those down, we’re going to be up there.”
“We compete. We’re looking to get ‘W’s’.”
Though they finished fourth at the Aloha Preview, that taste of State was more than enough to help them improve moving forward.
“It just kind of shows us what we need to get to. What numbers we need to get to.” said Miranda. “See where we need to be.
“And we’re competing against the top teams in the State. So that helps us a lot in improving,” adds Garza.
At the end of the day it’s like a family out there for the boys. They know when it’s time to screw around and be the joke-sters that all of them are, but they also know when it’s time to get to work when it’s time to get it done.
“It’s like a family, we’re all close together and we can be serious a couple of minutes later,” said Miranda. “And we know when it’s time to get serious and get business done.”
Speaking of 4×100 teams, the McKay Boys Relay team added their third-straight Aloha Preview Title to the program at the Frosh-Sophomore level with a time of 46.56, 0.27 faster than Benson’s crew.
“It’s pretty awesome considering it’s my third year, we haven’t been beat,” said Scots Head Coach Curt Everetts. “We’re also the meet record holder in that event, so it’s a little bit of swag walking out of here saying, ‘hey, it’s ours until someone takes it away’.
“So it’s pretty cool, the kids really look forward to this meet and they raise to the challenge, they want to represent McKay and leave it out there at the track.”
At the Freshman-sophomore level, it gives kids opportunities to compete with kids their own age from other programs other than their own.
“It’s really cool and I want to take it and I think it’s going to help me a lot because…there’s different competition other than what I’ve been going against, it’s more difficult and I just need to push myself more,” said Bailey Bryant, who finished 23rd (15.04) in a field of 36 in the 100 meter girls race.
For freshman Zair Ku Beiza, who finished sixth in the shot-put (35’6), and sixth in the Discus (95’4) in the freshman-sophomore categories, it gives them an opportunity to work out the nerves versus kids their own again as they adjust to the high school level.
“It’s really good because they’re almost the same age as you, maybe their a year older than you,” said Ku Beiza. “It’s good because maybe you throw farther, they throw farther; but it’s good because you can push each other because your the same age and going to be your competition for the next two-,three-years.”
Tyrus Love-Zhoe won won 300m Frosh-Soph hurdles 36” in 44.57, finished second in the 110 meter hurdles (16.57) in Frosh/Soph, and finished third in the Long Jump (18’9)
Adolfo Lua finished third in the Varsity Shotput (43’4), Leo Sliva finished fifth in the Varsity Javelin (151’4). KR Tipekos finished tied for third in the Frosh-Soph Pole Vault (8’6).
On the girls side, Steffani Rodriguez-Aquino finished third in the frosh-soph 100 meters (13.28) and second in the long jump (14’4.5) as Sariah Mba (32’8) finished third in the Shot-put.
Kaitlyn Green (94’) took the frosh-Soph discus by nearly 15-feet!
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald