If a thrower reaches the finals, they have three more attempts to improve their mark at that track meet.
Madras senior Ron Smith used that to the maximum advantage in the shot put finals at the Sisters Invitational on Saturday. He uncorked a lifetime best of 41 feet, 11 inches to win the event.
It was more than eight inches better than his previous best -- set four days earlier at an Intermountain Conference meet at The Dalles. Until last week, Smith's best mark was 39-11 1/2.
"Ron put it out there big time," Madras coach Paul Brown said. "That's what he did at The Dalles. We knew Ron was capable of going over 40 feet."
Smith's first place was one of 16 top eight finishes by Madras athletes.
"We have so many athletes improving each week," Brown said. "That's exciting, especially since they're competing in cold weather."
Put distance runners Andrew Flu and Atcitty Begay in that category.
Flu finished second in the 800 meters at 2 minutes, 4.29 seconds to finish two seconds behind the winner from 6A West Linn. Flu's time was just a second off his lifetime best set at the IMC district meet last season and the eighth fastest among 5A runners after the weekend performances.
"That's a great performance considering the weather and our schedule," Brown said. "He ran a great race at The Dalles (2:04.4) and we had two hard practices after that."
Flu was also coming off a fourth place in the 1,500 at 4:24.1 which is seven seconds off his lifetime best.
Begay turned in consecutive personal bests in the 3,000 last week. He finished third at Sisters by clocking 9:51.3, slightly more than a second faster than at The Dalles (9:52.9). Those were his first two races under 10 minutes. Begay was also seventh in the 1,500, setting a personal best of 4:27.3.
Kelby Mills turned in a trio of five finishes, including a fourth in the 300 hurdles. His 44.18 was just off his season best of 43.41. set at The Dalles, worth first place. The junior also set a personal best in finishing fifth in the long jump at 20-2 1/2 and was fifth in the 110 hurdles (17.14).
Thrower Tyler Bruck had a pair of top six finishes. He was fourth in the discus at 129-11, coming off a season best of 142-2 at The Dalles. The junior was also sixth in the shot put at 39-3, two inches off his season best.
In the pole vault, both Justin Brown and Jose Orozco improved by a foot. Brown cleared 10-6 to take sixth while Orozco cleared 10-0.
In the girls' pole vault, Madras had two finish in the top six. Megan Brown finished third by clearing 8-0 and at 8-6 hit the bar on the way down. Hannah Mikkelson was sixth by clearing 7-6 to go along with a seventh in the triple jump at 30-2 1/4.
"As a freshman, this is the first season Hannah has done the triple jump," the Madras coach said. "She's just learning the event and is already over 30 feet."
The Buffs' season continues by traveling to the Burns Invitational on Saturday. Madras then hosts its first meet of the season with state power Summit coming on Tuesday, April 15.