The VC boys win the first state trophy in school history
MONMOUTH - The Valley Catholic track and field teams rolled into the Class 3A state track meet with some impressively high expectations.
Then the Valiants exceeded them.
Valley Catholic, competing at the state meet May 17-18 at Western Oregon University, ran away with fourth-place trophies for both its boys and girls teams, marking the first state trophy in school history for the Valiant boys and a second straight trophy for the VC girls.
'Saturday was perhaps the best day in Valley Catholic track and field history,' said Valley Catholic coach Tommy Manning, noting that the Valiant boys had sent just one athlete to last year's state meet.
The Valley Catholic boys put together 11 top-eight finishes and ended the meet with 41 points, good for a fourth-place tie with Pleasant Hill and trailing only Nyssa's 73, Dayton's 63 and Westside Christian's 48.
At the forefront of VC's success was the performance of its stellar distance crew, their efforts high-lighted by the 2-3-6 finish of Cooper Roach, Andy Holstrom and Connor Garcia in the 3,000 meters. Roach finished strong at 9 minutes, 7.04 seconds for second, with Holstrom right on his heels at 9:07.29 and Garcia sixth at 9:13.60.
That 'was an exciting one if you were a Valiant fan,' Manning said.
The Valiants tripled their pleasure again in the 1,500, with Holstrom sixth at 4:09.16, Garcia seventh at 4:14.17 and Roach checking in at eighth at 4:15.57.
Reachana Chan did his part in the pole vault, tying a personal best height of 12 feet to take third in the vault. The Valiants also saw Josh Cole race to fifth in the 400 at 51.27, and saw Dylan LeMay score twice - first posting a personal best of 16.03 to take seventh in the 110 high hurdles, then adding another PR of 40-5 to grab eighth in the triple jump.
The 4 x 400 team of Aidan McLeod, Roach, Holstrom and Cole did the rest, beating Pleasant Hill in the final race of the meet to secure that fourth-place tie, notched a fourth in the event at 3:32.24 after breaking their own school record the day before.
While the VC girls' success was less of a surprise - the team had placed third at state in 2011 - it was no less dramatic or rewarding.
The Valiants finished the meet with 39 points - god for sole possession of fourth place - and behind only St Mary's 72, Catlin Gabel's 68 and Santiam Christian's 46.
Like their male counterparts, the VC girls got it done big-time on the track, led there by a pair of runner-up finishes by Makenzee Cleveland. Cleveland raced to second in the 400 with a finishing time of 59.80, then came back later in the meet to repeat that feat with a second in the 800 at 2:22.98. Cleveland's 400 time was one of only three sub-60 performances in the state this season at the 3A level, while her 800 time was the second fastest 3A time this year.
Madelyn Bernard also struck twice in individual events, clocking 16.82 to grab third in the 100 high hurdles and adding a sixth in the long jump at 15-9.50. Mikaela Bernards came through with VC's other individual score, racking to third in the 100 with a mark of 13.01.
Valley was strong in the relays too, opening the meet with a third in the 4 x 100 where Claire McLough-lin, Bernard, Bernards and Cleveland ran a 51.38. VC closed the meet strong too, coming from behind to grab seventh in the 4 x 400 to secure that fourth-place trophy with Meg Rapp, Addie Flemmer, Bernard and Cleveland clocking a 4:17.96 to close out the meet.