By Jeremy McDonald
SWEET HOME, Ore.– It was Clement Afterbuffalo’s second-year going to the Meet of Champions when the Chemawa Junior came from the campus in Salem to Sweet Home High School Saturday.
The Montana-based athlete finished ninth in the 1,500 meter race last season with a time of 4:27.64 and raced with Tyrrel Francisco in the 3,000 meter race later that day at Willamette University. Afterbuffalo finished seventh in that race and Francisco was 15th.
Fast forward to his this season, Afterbuffalo was the lone Braves athlete to represent the school in the Meet that brings in some of the best 1A-4A athletes in Oregon annually as he raced in the 1,500 meter, 3,000 meter and Long Jump events on one of the few nice racing days so far this season.
And as he set off on his first event, the 1,500 meter race, the Chemawa runner hovered around sixth place for the first three laps of the race. It was strategy for Afterbuffalo he said, comparing the meet to the feel of what State is going to be like
“It’s a good example of what State’s going to go. So I settled myself in sixth and stayed there until the last 100 yards and give it all I got,” said Afterbuffalo.
The Afterbuffalo Kick. It’s showed itself from time-to-time in the final 100 meters of the race and boy, does it sneak up on you when you see the six-five scrawny frame in the Black and Red uniform run past you towards the finish line.
“Just increased my strides, move my arms and dig deep and keep going,” smiled Afterbuffalo.
The kick helped Afterbuffalo finish fourth in the race with 4:29.51, just holding off 4A Philomath’s Grant Hellesto by 0.05 of a second. Hellesto caught up with the Braves runner in the final few yards of the race.
And with this ‘preview’ of sorts, it helps the Junior prepare for Districts that are two weeks away at Kennedy and help get ready for Jedaiah Wasson from East Linn Christian. The Senior Eagles runner won the 1,500 meter race with a PR of 4:13.24 with Chemawa going to the Regis Twilight Meet on May 3.
“Just got to keep pushing myself, stay healthy and stay out of trouble and keep moving on,” said Afterbuffalo.
Afterbuffalo finished seventh in the 3,000 meter race with a time of 9:57.07 and jumped a 18-foot-3-inch jump in the Long Jump.