by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic freshman Jacob Godshalk won the 1,500 by five seconds on Thursday to help the Valiants rout Oregon Episcopal School.

With his superstar teammates standing on the infield in sweats and bucket hats, Valley Catholic freshman Jacob Godshalk gave it a go as the Valiants’ top 1,500-meter runner and proved he has the chops to be one of the Lewis and Clark District’s elite.

Running without Cooper Roach, Wilder Boyden and Ben Davidson — Valley’s top three distance entrants with the best 1,500 times — Godshalk got out quickly ahead of the competition and upheld the Valiants’ reputation as the best distance program in the district, winning the 1,500 in 4:25.

Godshalk — a key member on Valley’s 2013 state-winning cross country squad — is certainly no slouch when it comes to the 1,500, seeing he has the fourth-best time in Lewis and Clark competition.

Yet, the freshman said there were a few pre-race butterflies as the driving rain fell, and he realized first place was a possibility.

“There was a lot of pressure,” said Godshalk. “I didn’t know how I’d do going into the race, but it all turned out to be fine. I think it went well overall.”

Godshalk didn’t set a goal pace to run, stating he “just wanted to run fast and take control at the beginning.” Hearing Oregon Episcopal School’s Patrick McVee on his heels helped the freshman keep the heat on as the race’s lead runner and gave Godshalk the galvanized juice to be the first to get across the line.

“He was right behind me, so I had to let loose in the last 300 (meters) to get away from him,” said Godshalk. “You never know if they have more energy than you, if they’re gonna outkick you. I always have to be aware and be ready to make a move.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic's Nathaniel Trobough won both the 400 and 800 for the Valiant boys track team on Thursday.

Staying power

Godshalk’s fellow cross country mate Nathaniel Trobough beasted the 400 (55.79), beating OES’ Charlie Good by nearly six seconds and setting a new personal record by two seconds.

The Valiant junior also won the 800 (2:09) to help Valley Catholic beat OES 88-33 on Thursday.

“I never looked back,” said Trobough of the 400. “I just tried to keep going strong and keep my pace the entire time.”

Trobough snatched an early edge with a strong, steady tempo, and ramped up the intensity of the 400 around the 200-meter mark. From there, it was a romp to the tape with Trobough tearing down the final straight away for the runaway win.

“I just try and stay strong the entire time,” said Trobough. “I don’t slow down because it’d be hard to speed up again.”

Junior Tysen Prunty powered to a pair of first places in the 110-meter hurdles (16.36) and long jump (19-05) while running a leg of the Valiants’ triumphant 4x100 relay (46.70).

One of the better hurdlers in the district, who has the second-best 110-hurdle time in the Lewis and Clark District, Prunty likes to get on the ground as fast as possible, so he can attack the next barricade with momentum and force. In the middle of each hurdle, Prunty takes three steps as opposed to four, which helps him sprint to the next barrier in the shortest amount of time.

“The lower you get, the faster you’re going to be on the ground,” said Prunty. “You want to lean forward like you’re going to touch your toe and pull it back, so you can get your trail leg over. That’s a big help.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic junior Tysen Prunty swept the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles while also taking first in the long jump on Thursday.

Speed conditioning

Prunty’s one of a number of Valiant contenders from other sports who lend their athletic abilities to the track team with the goal of becoming faster and more spry for their respective teams. Newcomer Jarrett Gray, for example, turned down the baseball team and went out for track this spring.

The all-state point guard, who helped Valley win a state title on the hardwood this winter, won the high jump by clearing 6-03 and placed second in the 100 (12.04). JD Menkens (first in the triple jump, second in the 110 and 300 hurdles), Drew VanderZanden (first in the shot put) were stars on the football and basketball teams as well.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Jarrett Gray took second in the 100-meter dash and won the high jump by clearing 6-03 at the Valiants dual meet on Thursday.

Freshman Joey Biever threw 135-06 in the javelin for first place, and fellow freshman Daniel Hardy cleared 8-06 in the high jump for another Valley victory.

“Coming out here and running just makes you faster,” said Prunty. “It gets you ready for other stuff like basketball and football. It helps a lot.”

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