Another title for Easterling

All five in Madras contingent at state track and field meet earn medals

by: Photo By Brian Liebenstein - Dominique Easterling landed another triple jump state championship for Madras and himself on Saturday at the Oregon 3A state meet. He lands one of his jumps above.

Sports Editor
   Dominique Easterling couldn't fly as far as he wanted for Madras High Saturday at the U.S. Bank - Les Schwab Oregon 3A state track and field championships. Yet, the junior's best leap was good enough to give Easterling his third straight triple jump state championship.
   Leaping 48-foot, 11.75 inches in the course of a hop, skip and jump, Easterling launched his winning triple jump in the third of three preliminary jumps of the Saturday event. His distance held up for his second championship of the meet.
   Easterling cleared the bar with it set at 6-6 Friday to win the high jump.
   Those wins highlighted the efforts of five Madras athletes who took part in three finals Friday besides trying to qualify for Saturday's finals in three running events.
   Joining Easterling in helping Madras earn points at the meet at Hayward Stadium on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene were Jocelyn Cuautle, Charlene Moody, Sierra Ferguson and John Adams.
   Easterling's high jump started two days worth of success for the five White Buffalos.
   "When you consider all the teams that were there and how few of them had everyone involved medal, we did really well," said Madras coach Lonnie Henderson.
   Adams, a senior, made his finale for Madras impressive by medaling twice. He wanted three, though, said the artistically, besides athletically, talented member of the class of 2003.
   Like Easterling, Adams was disappointed after not quite reaching the lofty goals he set. He earned his way into the preliminaries of both the 100 meters and 200 meters and wanted to race in both finals. But, Adams wound up only racing in the 100 Saturday, taking sixth. His time in the 200 preliminaries was ninth fastest in a field which only advanced eight to the finals.
   "I just couldn't get going," Adams noted of Friday efforts he made in the 200 and the long jump, compared to the 100.
   Even with Adams aced out of his bid to race in the 200 after advancing to Saturday's 100 final, Madras did well as a team. Adams efforts (sixth in the long jump and 100) added to Easterling's wins in the high jump and triple jump, plus a seventh in the long jump, earned Madras 29 points, good for seventh in the team standings.
   "We were only a couple of places from bringing back a trophy, even with just two entries," Henderson noted. The team standings among the boys were so close that five teams compressed themselves between the leaders and the Buffs, even though Madras was just 17 points from winning.
   "You never know. If John had done really well in the 200 finals and they had both done a little better in the high jump, we could have been bringing back hardware," Henderson explained.
   Madras High's girls placed well, but not quite as well as the boys.
   Scoring 14 points -- based on Moody's five points for fourth in the girls shot put on Friday, Cuautle's three for sixth in 400 and Sierra Ferguson's six for third in the discus on Saturday -- landed Madras a tie for 16th in the final girls team standings.
   The White Buffalos girls tied with Astoria and North Marion.
   Easterling's and Adams' battle to bring the Madas boys a trophy started with the long jump Friday morning. Loosening up was a challenge to both, they said. Adams nipped Easterling for sixth with his 20-09 effort compared to the 20-07 Easterling provided.
   Moody earned the Madras girls their first points by putting the shot 37-05.25 into the arced landing area while the boys were long jumping.
   Adams advanced to the 100 finals less than an hour after the long jump. He had a little more than three hours to recover before bidding to reach the 200 finals too, but couldn't finish strongly enough in his heat to make the finals. His ninth in the preliminaries left Adams less than a tenth of a second from advancing.
   On Saturday, waiting for the 1:30 p.m. start of the triple jump probably proved a mixed blessing for Easterling.
   "I just didn't have the pop in my legs I needed. I was hoping to get 50-feet," Easterling said after his sequence.
   It didn't feel like he was pushing himself too hard, said Easterling. But, he added, he could notice a hip injury that was aggrivated during Friday's efforts.
   The multi-sport junior star is considering competing in some high caliber events, but he might need some financial help.
   "He's been invited to the Golden West Invitational in California. Whether he'll go, we don't know," Henderson said of Easterling's choices. The senior-to-be may even follow the lead of Adams and try to qualify for a team of all-star competitors who toured Australia.
   Despite being sore Saturday, Easterling observed that if a new rule was not in effect, he would have gone farther in the triple jump, as well as the long jump.
   "I was less excited. It's hard to get picked up with no headphones or music," said Easterling. He said there was virtual unanimous concensus among the triple jumpers that letting the competitors listen to music would have let the crowd witness some longer leaps.
   It was hard to run as fast without having something to listen to while he was getting prepared for all his events, Adams chimed in.
   But, Adams had the support of Easterling, who explained he was near the track and could cheer on his senior teammate.
   Adams did the same as he exited the track after receiving his 100 medal, stopping to encourage Cuautle as she warmed up for the 400 finals.
   "Jocelyn had just a great meet," said Henderson. After only having what was listed as the 12th fastest time in the 3A division in the state coming into the meet, Cuautle turned in career-best times in both the preliminaries and finals to first jump into the finals field and then finish sixth.
   Madras had enjoyed the fortune of having another sophomore qualify for the girls shot put finals before, so Henderson said it was tough to recall whether 37-feet had been beaten by prior Madras throwers.
   Having not only Cuautle and Moody back, but Ferguson in the discus too, there should be great opportunities for the Madras team in the next couple state track and field meets.