Sailors set high bar at first track meet of 2022

Opal Burruss and Joe Shepard each earn two firsts

March 18, 2022 — The Mapleton track and field team kicked off the 2022 season on March 16 when they traveled north for Waldport’s Run for the Clover. Though the team has only five members, at Waldport the Sailors showed that those five athletes can make a big impact.

Each of the five athletes competed in four events and the two seniors on the team each won half of their events.

Opal Burruss, a senior, showed the why she’s considered one of the most multidimensional athletes seen by the upriver community in years. Burruss competed in the discus, where she finished third, and the triple jump, where she finished second.

Opal’s first first-place medal came in a competition with someone she’s quite familiar competing with — her sister, Helen, who is a freshman on the MHS track team.

The girls long jump was a family affair. Opal (11'3.5'') jumped just a quarter of an inch farther than Helen (11'3.25") to take first.

Opal also won the 400m race with a time of 1:13.5.

Helen finished third in the 400m and competed in the shot put and javelin.

Senior Joe Shepard was the leader for the Sailor boys. Shepard won the triple jump with a jump of 39'11'' and finished tied for first in the high jump with a jump of 5'4''. He also competed in the 100m and long jump.

The Sailors weren’t done winning medals, as sophomore Caleb Lewis won the 110m hurdles in 26.64. He also ran the 100m, 200m and tried his hand at long jump, too.

Rounding out the squad was freshman Alex Burnett, who was competing in his first high school track meet. Burnett ran the 200m and 400m, as well as high jump and long jump.

The girls team finished 4th with 53 points. Boys team scores were not available at press time.

Next, Mapleton will join McKenzie and North Douglas at the McKenzie Community Track Icebreaker on Saturday, March 26. Events start at 11 a.m.

To track the Mapleton track and field team’s results throughout the season, go to