Track and field: Canby's Devon Fortier speeds to state title in 200-meter dash
Less than a year earlier, he tore his ACL. Not two hours earlier, he missed out on a first-place finish by six-hundredths of a second.
But Devon Fortier put it all behind him and his opponents, too to win a state title in the boys 200-meter dash at the Class 6A track and field championships May 24 at Hayward Field in Eugene.
The Canby sprinter crossed the finish line in 21.52 seconds to edge Eugene-Sheldon senior Mitch Horning (21.62), the defending state champion.
It felt really good, especially after getting second in the 100 when I knew I was capable of getting first, Fortier said. It was one of the best races Ive ever had. ... It was a whole new race, and I went in knowing I could beat him.
It was the Cougars 10th event state title in program history, their first since they won the girls long relay in 2010 and their first individual crown since Eric Logsdon swept the two distance races in 2000.
And it was a redemptive victory for Fortier, who took second place behind Horning in the 100.
Horning also edged the star junior in both races at last seasons state meet.
That experience helped a lot, he said. In my first race last year, the prelim for the 100, I could tell my form wasnt good and I wasnt used to running with a big crowd like that. ... I was a lot more relaxed this year.
Fortier put himself in position to contend for state titles in both sprints after posting the top times in the prelims May 23. He clocked in at 10.85 seconds in his 100 heat and ran a 21.75 in his 200 heat.
I wanted to let everyone know that Im here to win a state championship, he said. I wanted to have the number-one times. Im coming to run the best time, get the best lane and Im going to win. That was the goal to show everyone I came and I mean business.
And after running a 10.83 in the 100 finals, where Horning (10.77) emerged victorious in a photo finish, Fortier turned in a career-best performance in the 200.
Fortier also led Canby in both relays.
He joined seniors Timmy Johnson and Dominic Shorter and junior Noah Walker for second place in the 400 relay with a school-record time of 41.71. Sheldon (41.19) broke the 6A state-meet record of 41.45 that a Thomas Tyner-led Aloha quartet set in 2011.
We were pretty bummed, Fortier said. We couldve had better handoffs, but Sheldons really good. They had a better day than we did. We knew we couldve run better. But we ran a really good race. We got the school record and second place thats nothing to be ashamed about. Theres always room for improvement.
Fortier, Johnson and Walker teamed up with Josh Payne for an eighth-place finish in the long relay with a 3:25.54.
The Cougars tallied 33 points to tie Grant for fourth place in the boys team standings behind Jesuit (97), Sheldon (55.5) and Grants Pass (35).
Walker and Johnson both placed in their individual events.
Walker placed sixth in the boys 200 with a 22.34. He advanced to the finals despite taking fifth place in his prelims heat Friday, earning one of the two-at large bids with his time of 22.22.
Johnson took sixth in the boys 110 high hurdles with a time of 14.77 seconds.
The senior, who missed last years OSAA championships to recover from surgery that fixed a congenital heart defect, punched his ticket to the finals with a 15.11 in the prelims.
Clackamas senior Connor McLean (14.27) won the state title.
Payton Jasmer and Hannah Knutson represented the Cougars on the girls side.
Jasmer placed 10th in the girls javelin competition with a distance of 111 feet 11 inches after winning a district title in the event. Roseburg junior Gabrielle Kearney (164-2) won the state championship by more than 27 feet.
Knutson finished her high school career with a third-straight state appearance in the girls triple jump, posting a distance of 35 feet 4.75 inches to take 13th place.
Knutson, who qualified as the TRL runner-up, placed eighth at the state meet as a sophomore and took 14th last year.
Glencoe junior Courtney Vacek (38-6) won the state title. Lakeridge senior Saskia McNairy, who earned the TRL title, placed third with a 37-3.75.