By Jeremy McDonald
MT. ANGEL, Ore.– When Ashley Vallejo took off from her blocks, there was some nerves in knowing the magnititude of the race that her, Mary Davidson, Kate Hanson and Judith Santos were running in: Top 2 go to State and they want that Top spot or second.
“It was really nerve-racking because I was so worried about not making it to State, I didn’t want to mess it up because I was the first leg and I had to get a really good start,” said Vallejo. “So I was really nervous but when I got to the start line, I was telling myself, ‘you got this’. I always tell myself before a race, ‘pass the girl in front of you’, that’s what I was aiming for. I felt like it was pretty good and when I saw Mary run, I was so happy.”
Vallejo handed off to Hanson, who took their position from middle of the pack to towards the front of the pack when she took handed it off to Santos as it became a battle between them and Blanchet Catholic.
“I just go and hope for the best, just run as hard as I can and just try to help my team get it so we can make it to State,” said Hanson. “It’s one of our main goals because that’s what we’ve had as a goal from the beginning of the season and just run it as hard as you can.”
But, the Cavailers made it known that they were the team to beat as they finished off the District Title dash as Davidson was fighting for the Lady Cats State relay team hopes coming down to the final 100 meters of their race.
“I didn’t realize that we were in third until I crossed the finish line when I got second, like I didn’t really think about it I just wanted to catch up to Bailey (Hittner) who was in front of me,” said Davidson. “So I was like, ‘I just got to catch up to her’ then I saw me passing this girl and I was like, “oh good I’m getting closer’ and didn’t realize anything.
“But as soon as I passed her, I heard my coach hooting, ‘yeah good job Mary’ and I was like, ‘did I really just do that?’ I was so really excited.”
They finished the race in 54.50, 0.72 ahead of third place Salem Academy to send Gervais to the State Meet in Eugene next week.
Coach Josh Crawford had a smile on his face as Hanson came over to greet Davidson at the finish line, now knowing that they’re going to the Big Show at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.
For this group of freshman, their bond that started in basketball has carried over to Track and Field as they get to race together one more time.
“I think it’s helpful because we started off with each other in basketball and it just carried over, we just don’t like to be apart from each other,” said Hanson. “Through school everyday we’re always together and we’re just really close to each other.”
Another Lady Cat that’s joining the 4×100 meter team is also a former basketball teammate in Natali Herinckx, who qualified for the State High Jump after finishing second in the event during Day 1 of the event.
“I’m glad that I get to join them because I wasn’t sure if I was going to State,” laughed Herinckx after the 4×400 relay race.
Herinckx joked, as the Gervais 4×4 team finished third and six seconds out of the second spot to go to State, that Lily Welburn wanted one of those pins that the Top 2 spots to which Welburn shot back with, ‘We didn’t get them man’ sarcastically with a laugh even though Herinckx liked how the team performed Friday evening.
Speaking of Welburn, the freshman PR’d in the shot put with a throw of 27-feet-five-inches to finish sixth in the District Meet, but Welburn is taking it as a learning experience entering the next year because of how her nerves were during the shot put.
“I know that I can compete with them and I got into finals, now I got to push myself more,” said Welburn. “I just got to push myself harder, I got nervous and I shouldn’t have. I should have known that I could do this.”
Hanson qualified for State in the 200 meter with her second-place finish as well as the 400 meter run with a second place finish. The Gervais boys 4×100 meter relay team finished third, Araceli Vasquez PR’d in the javelin (93-feet for fourth place).
Photos By Jeremy McDonald