Siuslaw continues season of success in Stayton

Cap1: Junior Jacob Blankenship has shown steady improvement all season. He PR’d in the 1500 at the Stayton Invitational on April 30 with a time of 4:28.14. (Photos by Mike Smith for the Siuslaw News)

Viking boys track top of 21-team field

May 4, 2022 — On April 30, the Siuslaw track team joined a large field of teams, from all divisions, at the Stayton Invitational. With just two events left, including this one, before district on May 13, each meet takes on added significance. At district, Siuslaw athletes will have a chance to earn a spot at the 4A State Track and Field Championships, which return this year to historic Hayward Field in Eugene.

The highlight of the day was the upset win by the Viking boys 4x100 relay team. Siuslaw came into the race as the fourth-ranked team in the field.

The team of senior James Smith, junior Hunter Petterson and two freshmen, Wesley Nicholls and Ray Brito Xilot, was aware they were the underdogs.

“Those other schools were no slouches,” said Smith. “Ridgeview High School, the number one seed, was supposed to run a 44.3. Every team has their day and fortunately for us, it wasn’t theirs.”

The day, or the 4x100 race at least, was most definitely Siuslaw’s as they ran a nearly flawless race to beat a field of many larger schools and won in 45.15.

Besides all the practice and hard work leading up to the race on April 30, Petterson believes the trust him and his teammates have for each other was a big factor in the victory.

“We’ve just been working and working to get better at the 4x100,” he said. “I just ran my race then I left the rest up to my boys. James, Wesley and Ray; we all say to each other before our race ‘I believe in you guys.’”

Smith gives credit to his faith for the victory, along with some nice technique too.

“I want to thank God for giving us the gift to run fast and grow stronger every day,” he said. “Secondly, our handoffs were better than they’ve ever been. We trusted our marks and went at the right moment.”

To go with this team’s win in the 4x100, Petterson scored more points for the Viks with PRs in both the 200m and 400m.

Petterson ran an amazing 22.82 in the 200m.

“I was so happy to break 23 in the 200m,” said Petterson. “I have been working towards that all year and I feel that I can go even farther with an even lower time.”

His 22.82 was enough to win the 200m at Stayton and is the second-fastest time ran in the 4A division this year. Only Aiden Kindt of Mazama has run a faster 200m, with 22.55.

His 52.60 in the 400m earned Petterson a third-place finish in the race and though it was the best he’s ever run, Petterson feels he has room for improvement.

“The 400 was okay,” he said. “I can do better.”

Highlight for the Siuslaw girls was the 1-2 finish by two Vikings in the 1500m.

Senior Rylee Colton ran the fastest 1500m of her career when she finished in 5:00.26 to win the race in dominating fashion.

The next runner didn’t cross the finish line until almost 15 seconds later. That second runner happened to also be a Viking — freshman Maya Wells, who also PR’d when she finished in 5:15.81.

A handful of other Siuslaw girls set personal records in their events. Freshman Macali Lade PR’d in the 400 m(1:12.59a). Sophomore Corduroy Holbrook ran her fastest career 800m (2:32.86a). Sophomore Madison Carnahan threw the discus farther than she ever has (81’9).

Other Siuslaw winners include senior Camp Lacouture, who continued his stellar season by topping the pole vault (13’).

Junior distance runner Sam Ulrich continued his steady improvement of his time in the 3000m when he won the race and PR’d when he finished in 9:13.26a. Just a couple seconds behind Ulrich was senior teammate Chad Hughes, who finished in 9:15.59a.

Ulrich credits Hughes and his coaches as being a big factor in achieving his best-ever time in the 3000m at Stayton.

“I would like to thank Chad, my teammate, for pushing me to a PR,” Ulrich said. “He helped push me to win it. Also, our coaches are always figuring out the best opportunity for us to succeed as individuals and as a team.”

The Siuslaw coaches also successfully pushed the boys team to a first-place finish in the team standings at Stayton. In fact, it wasn’t even close. The Vikings scored 109.5 to edge 5A Ridgeview of Redmond, who had 70. Fellow Sky-Em Leaguers Cottage Grove were third with 67.5.

On the girls side, Philomath was at the top with 143 points. Next was McKay (58.5), then host school Stayton (56). The Siuslaw girls were eighth with 35.

This week, the Vikings track and field team competed at Marshfield on May 3 after press deadlines. The next meet is Friday in Cottage Grove. The Wally Ciochetti Invitational starts at 2 p.m. It is Siuslaw’s last event before district on May 13.