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Easterling launches self into high jump hierarchy

by: Photo By Brian Liebenstein - Dominique Easterling makes easy work of one of the early heights on his path to a victory in Saturday's Sisters Invitational. He cleared 6-7, just one inch from the school record.


Sports Editor
   
   Dominique Easterling continued excelling for Madras High School's track and field team Saturday at Sisters. The junior won again, just in a different event that the one he was expected to win.
   One of the top-10 triple jumpers in the country last season among high school athletes who are back this year, thanks to his 49-feet, 4-inch, 3A state title-winning flight at Eugene late last May, Easterling established another benchmark for himself Saturday. The only problem for Madras High's track and field phenom might be that he brightened the already large and luminous figurative target on his back. He is now the one who athletes will talk of trying to beat in not just the triple jump, but the high jump too.
   His excellence figures to earn Easterling entry to varied meets requiring good times or distances to get into -- including Saturday's French Prarie Invitational at Woodburn which he and some teammates are in. Madras coach Lonnie Henderson said he hopes a number of Buffs qualify for the Saturday event some 12 miles north of Salem, but he was having many Buffs take part in a Tuesday, April 15, meet in Culver.
   Blasting his way into the state's high jumping scene at Sisters, Easterling cleared the bar at 6-foot, 7-inches, after never having gone higher than 6-4. He needed two attempts to make 6-6 and 6-7 before failing at 6-8, but Easterling beat out highly regarded Ellis Phillips of La Pine, who cleared 6-4, among others.
   Easterling exceeded most Central Oregon high jumps of recent vintage but he needs another inch to reach the Madras school record, set at 6-8, by Todd McGuire, in 1986.
   "I made so many high jumps I ran out steam," Easterling said after his triple jump series left him second to Lakeview's Ryan Nash, who entered the meet with the top distance so far. Easterling said he "knew" he could have gotten at least 49-feet instead of his 48-2 in the triple, if he had made a few less high jumps.
   "The coaches told me they would want me skipping at least one height next time, if I'm doing good," Easterling said.
   "We had a very good day, considering how many kids we were missing," Madras coach Lonnie Henderson noted.
   There were good showings by a number Madras boys and girls.
   Madras missed the presence of sprinter John Adams and his potential to add points to the Buffs total of 22, but Madras finished 10th in the team standings on the strength of Easterling's high jump win and second in the triple jump plus Austin Roberts sixth in the pole vault, at 10 feet, along with a sixth in the 1,600 relay. Easterling and Roberts teamed with Jesse Whicker and Jason Struck in covering the four laps of the 1,600.
   Top three finishes were sparse for Madras at the Sisters Invitational but Easterling's win led a group of scoring finishes that head coach Lonnie Henderson said he was pleased with, overall. There were some personal bests set by Madras athletes both in the top eight scoring slots and in places outside the points, said the veteran coach.
   Carly Lofting and Cassia Fox, fellow seniors, turned in the Buffs best performance in tandem. They took second (Lofting) and third in the girls discus.
   Lofting unleashed her early-season best of 114-feet, 5-inches to beat Fox by 12 feet, despite a career best of 102-5 by Fox.
   A good release she said "could have been better," landed Lofting second to Mountain View's Rebekah McAdam, who got off a 123-10.75 throw, in the event. Fox flung the discus over 100 feet for the first time in her career.
   Her shot put effort in support of teammate Charlene Moody earned Fox another personal best, at 30-3.5, along with seventh in the standings in an event that Moody's 34-1.5 was only good enough for third in. Burns' Sabrina Freed exploded with a 35-8.5 shot put.
   Jocelyn Cuautle added another of Madras's 23 team points with her eighth-place effort in the 100 meters that caught enough of the girls in a faster seeded heat to land her eighth, in a time of 14.0 seconds, compared to the 13.0 seconds clocked by winner R. Devey of Estacada.
   The 23 points Madras scored in the girls portion of the Sisters meet nearly matched the boys in total and placing as it too took 10th in the team standings.
   With 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring for the eight highest places, the Buffs picked up 14 of their 23 in the discus alone plus a total of eight from Fox alone in the girls' scoring. The remainder of the points were provided by the efforts of Cuautle with her 8th in the 100 meters, among other sources.