Wildcat junior becoming a threat in taxing race

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview's Laura Gastineau nudged past Beavertons Cassandra Harrigan in the 400-meter dash on on April 23.

Westview's Laura Gastineau wanted Lexus Miller-Moylan, a crack to go head-to-head with one of the fastest 400-meter runners in Metro, and show what she's made of against the Beaverton sprinter.

Alternately, Gastineau got Cassandra Harrigan — another Beaver racehorse and top Metro competitor who's swiftly moving up the rankings — which gave the Wildcat junior the same sort of incitement to ignite the race of the wet afternoon on April 23 and new personal record.

The two Metro entrants were inches apart over the final 100 meters, each lunging and leaning with every ounce of strength and endurance they had left in the chamber. The lead switched twice in the last 10 meters, until a gasping Gastineau gutted over the tape with a last-gasp lung that secured the first place. Gastineau's 1:00.43 was just enough to nudge Harrigan's 1:00.44.

“I thought I was going to race Lexus, but (Harrigan) was my main target,” said Gastineau. “(Harrigan) had a faster time coming into this race so I really wanted to beat her. Mentally I told myself 'I can do this and not to give in. At first, I wasn't sure if I had got it because I was dying, and she was still going.”

Gastineau said her tactic was to go rigorously the first 100 meters, ease off the gas until the backstretch, and then hit it full throttle to constrain Harrigan from hitting the finish line first.

“It was really hard at the end,” said Gastineau. “My legs were dying, but I tried to push through it. I could hear (Harrigan) and see her out of the corner of my eye. That was just motivation to go.”

The victory was a gainful accomplishment for Gastineau, who hopes to keep upgrading her times and soar up the Metro leaderboard in the 400.

“I've started out a lot stronger than last year, which is nice,” said Gastineau. “I'm hoping to get under 60 seconds for the 400. It's great to know that I have one of the top times, but I still have to improve because spots are constantly changing.”

Westview senior Hannah Lautenbach took first in the 100-meter hurdles (17.76) while Wildcat freshman Nicole Kiley won the 300-meter hurdles (48.60). Junior Meghan Carter threw 99-03 in the javelin for first place while Hannah Garrity cleared 5-00 in the high jump to help the Wildcats nip the Beavers, 77-67. Junior Reed Richardson beat teammate Madeline Leavitt in the long (16-02) and triple jump (35-00).

Coming off a breakout season on the hardwood during which she ignited the Beaverton girls' basketball team with energy and tormenting defense, Beaver long distance runner Allison Mueller is again beginning to pinpoint her form and tolerance. Transitioning from the up-tempo, sprinting-and-stoping pounding of hoops to the rhythmic, cardiovascular frazzle of distance running isn't as trouble-free as one might imagine, Mueller alleges.

“It's a huge change going from basketball to track,” said Mueller. “It's just a totally different kind of sport. There's nothing really similar about them. So, I have to rely on the fact that I know I can do the training to get back to where I need to be and not get upset when my times aren't as fast as they were at the end of last year.”

Because the Beavers have played in the 6A girls' state tournament the past two seasons, Mueller has started her training approximately two weeks behind the rest of her long distance competitors. Yet, Mueller said the season's gone well so far. The junior's times have gone down to where she prefers them to be, and personal records seem to be susceptible to falling soon.

“I just have to keep working hard throughout the season to get back up, and not worry about basketball,” said Mueller.

A 2013 state finalist in the 800 who's found healthy competition from teammate Erin Gregoire, Mueller ran and won the 1,500 against Westview with a personal best 4:49. Mueller wanted to get out to the front and uphold a good speed that was maintainable for the whole race.

“I definitely want to get back to state and set up some personal records,” said Mueller. “I just have to do my best in our hard workouts, go to practice every day and trust that it'll help improve my times over the season.”

Miller-Moylan won the 100 (13.11) and 200 (27.20) while helping the Beavers' 4x100 relay take first overall. Gregoire took gold in the 800 (2:20). Nila Kamis won both the discus (101-07) and shot put (30-10).

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