By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The Salem Academy 4×400 relay and the Regis 4×400 meter relay had themselves a nice little battle to close out the 2A Special District 2 Track Meet Saturday afternoon.
The Crusaders second leg of Chase Sullivan pulled the Salem Academy quartet ahead by a wide margin only to see the Rams pull them back in by way of Daisy Hernandez that had the two squids neck-and-neck going into the fourth leg.
Hernandez was motivated to pull her squad close to Salem Academy while staying ahead of East Linn Christian Academy.
“I was more scared of the East Linn behind me, she definitely scared me and pushed me hard and once I got into the corner I was like, ‘You know what, it’s all or nothing and I need to get to my next person and I need to get closer to Salem Academy’,” Hernandez said. “It was really fun. I think all of my teammates and I had a great time just trying to keep up with Salem Academy. We had an amazing time.”
As Hernandez handed off to Clara Persons, Salem Academy’s Riley Tillery handed off to Ceila James. James, aware of the crucial juncture they were in, took off as soon as she got the handoff to get her squad back in front of Regis. Taking the race and the District Title by nearly two seconds, battling through all the adversity of injuries and the heat of the Meet to clinch the race.
“I knew I needed to start off fast because they were right on me. So starting off fast for me was huge. I was tired. I just went to the 400-meters with everything I got and I’m so proud of us. We made it to State,” James said. “We’re going to State for the first time in a long time and first in Districts. I’m just so proud of our team.”
James was part of the 4×100 team that finished fourth and was fourth (100-meter), second (400-meter) and seventh (200-meter) in three other events as the Crusader Girls finished second as a team. For Sullivan, it capped a day that saw the sophomore lead the pack for a bit to start in the 1,500-meter race where she finished second.and second in the 800-meter race as well to help qualify for State individually as well in her first season running the 1,500-meter event.
“It feels surreal because I never really thought of Track as my main sport, so this is realizing my potential has been great. We got an amazing coach that helps me realize my potential more every day,” Sullivan said.
The Rams Tim Crowell will be returning to the State Meet for the third-straight year, going back to the State Meet during the Covid-Shortened season at Union High School in the Pole Vault and will be heading back to Hayward Field in Eugene doing High Jump as well. PR-ing with the latter, jumping a hieght of six-foor-three-inches to win the District Title
“It was very exciting, I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s exciting,” Crowell said of the High School. “Last year (at State), it wasn’t the best and this year I’ll do a lot better. Training a lot harder, getting in and trying new poles and working on getting footsteps and the form down.”
Regis saw Mac Parrish win the Long Jump and Daisy Hernandez (100-meter Hurdles, 300-meter Hurdles), Adelle Otter (Javelin) finish District Runners-Up. Salem Academy’s Caleb McGraw and Aden Dardis went one-two in the Shot Put, McGraw was also second in the Discus. Emma Brewer won the High Jump as the Crusaders had six District Runners-Up.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald