By Jeremy McDonald
INDEPENDENCE, Ore.– It’s not everyday that State Placers from two different classifications face-off against one another.
Salem Academy’s Wilson McLean, who finished second in the State Championships in 3A in the 200 meter dash in 2017, was lining up against McKay’s Israel Garza who finished sixth in 6A as a junior last season in the 200 meter dash.
Coming into the blocks, McLean was wearing his Concordia shirt and sweats to stay warm and loose while Garza does the same with a McKay sweatshirt on and sweats.
“Oh it’s really cool, a guy like that knows what he’s doing and trains a lot and it’s hard to get where he’s at. So it’s really cool to race a guy of his caliber,” said McLean of Garza.
They both get into their blocks and go off, within 50 meters Garza was at McLean’s hip pocket and McLean pushes his tempo to match Garza’s entering the final 100 meters before Garza pulls away down the back-straightaway for the win as McLean was right behind him as both racers finished with season-records for the season.
McLean, who was open about his love for competition like racing against Garza, said he was excited for the opportunity that was in front of him as, like Garza, coming back from leg injuries.
“I had a pretty good start, I gave it a couple of strides and once I got around the corner I was sprinting, so I felt pretty good,” said Garza who won the 200 meter dash in 22.56 to McLean’s 22.99.
“His first 50 meters was monster,” said McLean on Garza. “He was right up on me, I felt him right on my neck right out of the blocks. You could tell he’s really strong out of the blocks, so that really help push me right out of the blocks as well. He had a decent corner as well and I was able to stay with him as well which felt really nice, but a guy like that running at that speed with 50/70 meters left, he left me in the dust but he’s an incredible runner and it was fun to run against him.”
Kara Standridge, who’s battling through some back stiffness and through the fatigue from competing Thursday at Jefferson High School, finished second at the John Oliver Invite with a High Jump mark of four-foot-ten-inches despite what’s going on physically.
“I felt like I did a pretty good job, I kept constant jumps and I felt like I got better,” said Stanridge on the High Jump.
Halle Baker finished sixth in both the 1500 and 3000 meter races, Sydney Brown finished second in the 300 meter hurdles with a PR of 49.12 and PR’d in the Triple Jump (31-feet-11-inches). Aimee Smith PR’d in the shot put (34-feet-4.5-inches).
Mason Strunk was second in the Discus with a throw of 139-feet-eight-inches, Austin Bannerman was third in the Pole Vault (11-feet) and Dawson Patton finished second in the Triple Jump Friday afternoon (39-feet-6.25-inches).
Though he finished second, Patton believed that he could have done better in the Triple Jump.
“I don’t know, my distance wasn’t what I wanted it to be and that’s the only problem because at the Meet of Champions I was jumping 43 (feet) and today jumping 39, I just think I could do better,” said Patton. “I think it’s going to be recovery because we had a meet last week and the meet on Saturday with Finals and it’s a lot of jumping.”