By Jeremy McDonald
NEWPORT, Ore.—For athletes, the dream of going to State is on every athlete’s mind and getting there is just something of dreams coming true.
Following the 4×400 meter relay team finishing second and qualifying to go to State, Cascade freshman Ashley Fraser was emotional about the fact they were going to State. Her leg, the third leg of the relay, had helped the Cougars put a cushion between them at second and third-place Stayton that the squad’s was trying to pull away from since the second leg of the relay for when Fraser handed it off to her anchor leg of the race.
“That was the fastest leg that I have ever ran and having someone in front of me really faster, really pushed me…It’s so great, we all worked so hard,” starts Fraser. “I was shocked, I was mind-blown I had no idea that I did that and it was a great feeling.”
The squad finished with a time of 4:14.03, two seconds short of District winner Newport but 11.07 seconds ahead of third place Stayton who was nearby when Fraser took over mid-race.
In a unique situation in the Girls Javelin saw the Top 3 Girls auto-qualify for the State Meet during the preliminary round, the question became as they enter the finals of who’s going to take the District Title as an encore.
For Cascade’s Kaelyn Worst, who was going up against the Newport sisters of Madison and Halle Hargett, the lowest throw between the three was 122-feet-six-inches.
“I’m so excited for javelin and I’m even more excited that I’m going with the other throwers from Newport because we all auto-qualified and one of the Hargett girls went out with a crazy throw and auto-qualified and I was like, ‘I want it’. So I went out and threw a big one and after all three of us auto-qualified…one of the girls looks at me and was like ‘oh yeah we got to decide who’s one, two, three’ and I was like ‘you’re right and I want to take first’.
“I’ve been training for this and I’ve been so hurt and I’ve been having to hold back and pace myself on training and everything and I was like, ‘this is my moment’ to go after it and go hard and go all out.”
Worst, who was second entering the finals, went out and threw a 129-foot-five-inches to take the District Title on the first day of the District Meet.
“My first goal was to win Districts but once we all made it in for the auto-qualifying mark, I was like, ‘Now it’s between the three of us who’s first’,” said Worst. “And then that was my next goal, that was what I was going after and I did it.”
Joining the 4×400 relay and Worst at State as a ‘true’ first-timer is Faith Craig. After being a atlnerate last season with one of the relay teams, Craig PR’d in the 100 meter hurdles race as her and 300 meter hurdle teammate both get to train together in a way for State here in a few days.
“I’ve been working for this,” “I don’t know I’m just excited to be able to compete with such great athlete’s and coming out here to Newport, we’ve never been here before…a bunch of us seniors so it was really cool to show up and compete well,” said Craig.
“I’m really happy. I could get faster around the corner and home stretch and I hope I just PR,” adds Lucy Roache, who finished second in the 300 meter hurdle with a 50.56 PR, beating Craig by 0.38 of a second to qualify for the last State Qualifying spot.
Maliah Russell controlled the 800-meter race as she took home her second straight District Title in the event Saturday afternoon as she fought through the fatigue to qualify for the State Meet.
“It’s so awesome, I knew the first lap I wanted to pace behind someone so they can break the wind for me, but the second lap I was like, ‘I didn’t even care, I give it all that I have until the finish line. Senior year’. When I crossed the finish line, my legs and I was so dead, but it was a big accomplishment, I was so happy,” said Russell.
Russell, who’s making her third appearance at the State Meet and third in the 800-meter race, that it’s fun to run at Hayward Field as it’s a fast course and she’s just going into the race with the mindset that it could be her last.
“Hayward Field is a really fast track and just being able to run on it it boost your performance really well and I just need to think that this could be my last race,” said Russell. “It doesn’t matter if I don’t make it to Finals as long as I get a good time and if I feel good about it, I’ll be proud about that and I’m just happy to race on Hayward Field.”
Kalulusno Ngaida won the High Jump, Long Jump and Triple Jump.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald