By Jeremy McDonald
SPRINGFIELD, Ore.– Mask were required until they lined up at their blocks. After their race, they have to wait in lanes to get a disposable mask before leaving the track.
They were split up in heats, no too different from their normal track meets. Lone difference is that they have a lane to each side of them empty for social distancing as they line up in their blocks.
It felt like an April evening Thursday night at Silke Field at Springfield High School. Clouds overhead, cool breeze cutting cross the stadium blowing into the home stands as Emma Gates lined up in her blocks.
The 2019 4A High Jump Champion has been putting in work in her jumps on her own once-a-week, having competing in a virtual meet jumping five-foot-seven-inches.
Thursday’s All-Comers Meet #2 was also Gates second time racing with the restrictions, competing as an unattached athlete. Finishing seventh in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.27 and fourth in the 200-meter dash at 27.22.
“It’s a little challenging but I’m just grateful that we can actually have something out here with us missing Track season. I’m hoping that it’ll make up for it a little bit,” said Gates. “I think I’m doing better than I expected, I’m glad I keep up with it regardless of all the restrictions and everything. I’m glad it’s working out, I’m hopeful for future seasons.”
Through the pandemic and the hopes for her Junior season ahead in April, 2021 going as planned, these mini-meets plus the work on the side with her jumping has helped Gates in staying in it during these crazy times.
“It’s helped a lot. I feel like if I hadn’t kept with it, I’d be very off track and I’m happy that I have the efficiency to keep working at it and keep progressing regardless of everything that’s happening,” said Gates.
Cougar teammate Ashton Williams made his first race debut of the year Thursday, over a year since a hip injury dampened him in the 200-meter dash preliminaries his Sophomore Year at State; despite a tight coming out of his transition phase of his 100-meter race, it was a good learning experience for him as he finished fourth in the 100-meter dash (11.83 seconds) and seventh in the 200-meter dash (24.40 seconds).
“My 100 was a little bit shaky…by the 200 I had figured out that I was a little too tense in the 100-meter dash. Right after my transition phase, I felt myself tighten up a little bit and in the 200 I tried to keep it a lot more consistent and keeping it relaxed,” said Williams. “First meet of the season, I’m not worried about times, just getting out to compete again. I just got to get out and run more.
“Now I got my first meet done, it’s just getting back into the loop of things and I feel like it’ll be a lot easier to relax the next time.”
Wilsonville’s Rocco Marshall won the 100 meters in 11.42 seconds. Incoming Lake Oswego Middle School eighth-grader Mia Brahe-Pedersen won the Girls 100-meter dash in 12.14 and 200-meter dash in 25.08 seconds. Lakeridge’s Aaron Chao won the Boys 400-meters in 55.26 seconds, a PR. Sheldon’s Chloe Shedrick also PR’d in the 400-meter in 59.10.
South Salem’s Evan Gonzalez won the 800-meters in 1:58.18 and Kate Cheldelin of Pacific Crest Middle School won the Girls 800-meter dash in 2:24.78.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald