By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For much of the 3000 meter race, Stayton’s Ben Kirby was hanging around the front pack of the race and battled with Cottage Grove’s James Talley as they entered the second 1500 meters of the race Saturday afternoon.
Whenever Kirby would get ahead, Talley pulled him back in and regain the lead as Kirby did the same entering the second-to-last-lap where Talley began to set the pace of the race away from Kirby.
“We were really trying to get behind somebody so somebody could block the wind,” starts Kirby as the head win of the front straight-away into turn one and exiting turn 4 was grueling for the runners Saturday afternoon. “And eventually I started slowing down a little too much and he came close and I tried to stay in front, but that kid from Cottage Grove had a really good kick. He ran a really good race.
Talley took the race in 9:16.74 as both him and Kirby, who finished second at 9:20.42, both PR’d in the race at Willamette University as both raced a hard, tough race with the elements at hand.
“It was really good,” said Kirby about racing at the pace he did on a stage like the Meet of Champions. “Hopefully gonna get to go to State this year and that’s going to be some of the guys that area going to be there. It’s good to compete right now.”
For Casey Pugh, who finished 11th in the 800 meter race later on in the day, before the race had battled Sister’s Jordan Pollard in the 1500 meter race as both battled relatively alone in the front by themselves for a bulk of the race on Saturday.
The stragety was that if Pollard wasn’t going to jump out fast, just hang around the senior Outlaw runner and go from there until the last lap where Pugh may have ran out of gas late as Pollard pulled away from Pugh in the final 100 meters of the race.
“The second lap I tried pushing him because they were behind schedule a little bit and he pushed the pace and so did I, so he read that and moved pretty quickly and then in the final lap he just took off and I just tried to hold him,” “Then about 200 meters to go, I tried passing him again and put down another gear and I tried pulling him in again in the last 100 again and it didn’t work out.”
Pollard took the race in 4:14.27 and Pugh was second at 4:15.31 in the race as the Lane Community College-commit sees where he can improve upon moving forward.
“I think it just killed me in knowing I need to work on my third and fourth lap a lot because he destroyed me on those,” said Pugh. “That’s what I need to work on in practice and go back to work out the kinks right now.”
Jesse Mitchell finished fifth in the 800 meter dash in 2:35.42, a PR for the sophomore. Freshman Hailey Notman finished ninth in the 1500 meters in 5:18.84. The 4×100 meter Boys team finished third with a time of 45.41, the team consist of Chase Rogers, Jacobe Croff, Justus Bischoff and Joshua Belliard. Jarred Boedigheimer PR’d in the High Jump at six-foot-one inch. Croff and Rogers went sixth and seventh in the Long Jump.
KJ Nyquist was eighth in the Long Jump in her second-time ever jumping in the event.