By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Casey Pugh was pacing himself for much of the 1,500 meter race Saturday afternoon behind Yamhill-Carlton’s Andrew Doran, and entering the final lap, there wasn’t much different.
Until the final 300 meters, when his kick came in for him to go from about third-fourth to the top spot in the race with 200 meters to go.
“I knew I had a good kick and I knew I could beat the other guy, I wanted to get out of the wind as much as possible. The second-to-last-turn, I knew I had a better kick than everyone else and I believed in myself,” said Pugh.
Coming down the final 100, the possible fatal flaw that Pugh made in his 1,500 meter win was to look back a few times to see if Doran was going to ‘kick’ back and challenge him for the Title.
“That YC kid, I didn’t know how well his kick was,” said Pugh. “I know I got one of the best kicks in the league, not trying to be cocky or anything…I checked behind me a few times, which isn’t a good thing to do.”
Regardless, Pugh’s kick was good enough for a PR of 4:16.31, almost two whole seconds ahead of Doran as Pugh picked up his second District Title after winning the 3,000 meters in 9:25.20 with Stayton Eagle teammate Matthew Frazeur finishing second (PR time of 9:26.30).
“It’s great, it gives me more confidence going into State,” said Pugh on winning two District Titles. “Just a lot of confidence, so that’s good.”
Speaking of kicks, Olivia Casarez had one herself in the 300 meter relays after a slow start to get back into contention for a State Berth, but a trip down the final hurdles just slowed her down just enough in her fourth-place finish in the race as Izabella McLean and Molly Klipfel finished 1-2 in the race.
“I did really good up until I think it was third, second-to-last hurdle,” starts Casarez. “I hit it with my foot and it cost me to get third, I was catching her for second. Kind of disappointing.”
Casarez knows that this pain she’s feeling now hurts and she’ll use that as motivation next year, and once she heals up from a injury she’s been slowly recovering from the past few weeks, she’s going to be good.
“I hope I can use it to motivate me to do better, like I’m a little disappointed with how it’s ending right now and I’m kind of going to use that to push me because I don’t want to feel like this again,” she said.
Joining Pugh and Frazeur is Lauren Baddeley with a second-place shot-put finish (32-feet-four-inches)
Photos By Jeremy McDonald