By Jeremy McDonald
MOUNT ANGEL, Ore.– The heat Saturday was not an unfamiliar thing for Chemawa’s Angel Jackson. The Junior from the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona was use to the grueling heat that the Arizona throws her way.
But nonetheless on Saturday Jackson hovered around the top five, top six actually through the first half of the race before working her way into the top five and fourth entering the final lap of Saturday’s 1,500 meter race.
Coming down the stretch, as Kennedy’s Alejandra Lopez and Cassie Tregar and East Linn Christian’s Hana Slayden finished first through third respectively, Jackson had to dig deep in the final 150 meters of the race to hold off the Trojans Mikayla Schaecher for fourth-place in the race Saturday afternoon.
“Oh it was really great, the heat really pushed me. It was really good,” starts Jackson. “It was really hard because I heard her coming up from behind me and everyone was cheering her on. So I kind of used that to pushing myself because I didn’t want her to push me.”
Jackson PR’d in the event with a time of 5:53.19 to go with her third-place finish in the 3,000 meter run Friday, a 13:02.69 PR. Jackson was one of three Chemawa athletes to compete in the 2A Special District 2 Championships the past two days.
With the school year ending on May 2 and graduation on May 3 for the Braves, who are funded through the federal government each year, only a handful of athletes were allowed to stay after the school year to compete in Districts and possibly State.
Those three: Jackson, Ryan Weir and Clement Afterbuffalo, placed in the Top Seven in the District Meet.
Weir, who placed in the fifth in the 1,500 meter race and seventh in the 3,000 meter race respectively, mentioned how he should have been more hydrated and how his Senior Year will be better than this season was for him.
“They were tough and they’re still tough. You got the eat linn guys, so they’re flying. The East Linn guys know what they’re doing,” said Weir of his competition. “Next year you’re going to see a guy that’s going to come in at 4:30.”
Afterbuffalo, who won district titles at the 1,500 and 3,000 meter races as a sophomore at the 3A level, finished second in the 1,500 meter race while adding to his District Title resume with a 800 meter District Title.
His 800 meter District Title run however, came down to extra boost in his 100 meter kick that’s helped out so many times the last two seasons.
Drifting to third in the final 200 meters as Kennedy’s Jose Salazar and Luke Hall start their kick in hopes to survive Afterbuffalo’s kick in the final 100 was within reach coming out of the first 25 meters of the final 100. But it was East Linn’s Ethan Slayden who came out of left field with his kick to put more pressure on Afterbuffalo coming down the stretch.
“I just had to stride it out longer and longer and just keep digging myself into the ground. While I’m digging myself into the ground, I’m pumping my arms back so I can take the win,” said Afterbuffalo. “Winning the 800 for my first year, it’s exciting. It’s going to be hard running both of them at the same day at State. I just got to keep practicing my times and pace, just keep pushing myself and working my butt off at practice.”
The 2A State Track Meet will be at Western Oregon University this upcoming Friday and Saturday.