By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.—The wind swirling around Gervais’ grass football field and it’s track Thursday afternoon added another element for the runners of the 1,500-meter race.
At the starting line, the wind was in your face. But when you come down the final 150 meters, it was to your back which could help aid you to make up the difference from the front-end of the race.
For Chemawa’s Clement Afterbuffalo, his 4:45 time in the 1,500 first-place win in the elements looked like his pace time for his 3K race more so than the 4:35.2 time he ran at Regis in Stayton a week ago in the race win.
“I just started off the way the same way I’ve always do, but it’s just the wind that slowed me down on the backstretch,” said the Junior from Browning, Montana, who came out of the gate hard and built a comfortable lead entering the second-half of the race.
Afterbuffalo saw the fruits of his labor come to fruition last season when he finished eighth in the 1,500 meter and 3,000 meter runs in his first full-year on the track as a sophomore last season. Afterbuffalo was one of two Braves to make it to State in 2018, joining Milo Loya.
Loya finished seventh at 3A State in the javelin after finishing sixth in the 3A 100-meter dash in 2017.
With Afterbuffalo returning this season, joining Cross Country teammate in Ryan Weir on the track, is confident and relaxed as he looks for a return trip to the State Meet this time in 2A.
But the competition will be tough with East Linn Christian Academy, seeing a few of those runners during the Cross Country season this past Fall that could keep Afterbuffalo from reaching the Big Meet again in both the 1,500 meter and 3,000 meter races.
“It’s going to be hard but I’m going to go hard against that East Linn boy because he is pretty fast,” said Afterbuffalo having faced Brandon Williams and Jedaiah Wasson at Regis.
Wasson won the 3K race in 9:29.79, Afterbuffalo was second at 10:20.04.
Weir, who finished second in Thursday’s 1,500 meter run and finished third in that 3K last week in Regis, is a high-motor kind of runner that isn’t afraid of competition. Afterbuffalo mentioned how hard Weir is going to push him until the end.
“He’s going to push me a lot all the way to the end until I make it to State,” said Afterbuffalo of Weir.
Weir ran a 5:03.30 in the 1,500 and 10:51.80 in the 3,000 meter races. Afterbuffalo won the 3,000 meters in 10:11.80.
Afterbuffalo and Weir will have a rematch with those Eagle runners on April 18 when Chemawa travels to East Linn Christian for their third 2A Special District League Meet.