Powerful VC girls get ready

The Valiants win at home, edge closer to a WVL crown
by: JONATHAN HOUSE, GIVING HER ALL — Valley Catholic senior Nicole Hardisty races through the 100 meters last week during her team’s home invitational meet.

BEAVERTON - A high state placing might be in line for a deep Valley Catholic girls track team.

But first things first. The Valiants' ultimate goal is a West Valley League district championship and they moved a step closer after winning their host meet last Thursday.

Valley Catholic scored 122 points to run away from second-place Westside Christian (77) and remain unbeaten in league meets this season. After taking second to Westside Christian at the 2007 district meet, the Valiants look to move up a spot and earn the school's first district girls track title.

'I think we can do it,' junior Meghan Blood said. 'It's something we've wanted from the start. It would be exciting for the school.'

'We have a lot of superstars,' senior hurdler/jumper Marybeth Wikander said. 'All around, we have a lot of good people. We have someone in each event that can push through.'

And sometimes multiple standouts as is the case with Blood and freshman Sara Seiwald in the distance races. Blood won the 800 meters on Thursday with a time of 2:28.30, while Seiwald ran away with first in the 3,000 in 11:30.00.

Blood holds the league's best time in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000 this season, while Seiwald is No. 2 in both the 1,500 and 3,000.

'We push each other,' Blood said. 'We work with each other and challenge each other.'

In Saturday's Meet of Champions at Willamette University in Salem, Blood set season-bests to take third in the 3,000 (11:06.95) and fourth in the 1,500 (5:00.65). Seiwald wasn't far behind in both events, placing fifth in the 3,000 (11:25.88) and seventh in the 1,500 (5:06.53).

'She's good,' said Wikander of Seiwald. 'We call her mini-Meghan.'

The Valiants took first in six events Thursday, which also included league foes Amity, Westside Christian and Willamina, as well as Class 1A Southwest Christian.

Wikander had a busy day, taking a first, a second and two thirds Thursday. She won the 100 high hurdles with a time of 18.45, was second in the 300 low hurdles in 54.07 and third in the high jump (4 feet, 2 inches) and the triple jump (29-10½) - one spot behind sophomore teammate Holly Tolan at 30-1¼.

Wikander has the league's best time of 2008 in the low hurdles by 0.01 over Colton's Brittany Patterson. Tolan has the No. 4 time in the event and took fourth in it Thursday. Tolan is also fourth in the league for the long jump and third in the triple jump. She took second in the long jump on Thursday with a mark of 14-6 and also finished third in the high hurdles at 18.78.

Junior Celia Gendron won the 1,500 for the Valiants on Thursday with a time of 6:02.89, followed by freshman teammate Keeley Peneyra in 6:06.01. Gendron also took third in the 3,000. Senior Sarah Imel added a third in the 100 in 14.02, while senior Kate Emery placed third in the 400 at 1:07.89.

Valley Catholic's 4x400 relay team of Elizabeth Emery, Erin Gibbs, Gloria Davis and Katie McAuliffe finished second in a season-best 4:26.36, while the 4x100 team of Nicole Hardisty, Imel, Michelle Vinson and Michelle Schafman took third.

Hardisty and Schafman each added wins in the field. Hardisty, a senior, won the javelin with a toss of 107-11. Schafman, a junior, cleared 8-0 to win the pole vault, followed by freshman teammate Colleen Johnson at 6-0.

Hardisty has the league's fourth-best throw in the javelin for 2008 and also the No. 3 time in the 200, though she's currently battling through a pulled quadriceps muscle.

Schafman took eighth in the pole vault at Saturday's Meet of Champions with a clearance of 8-6 and has topped 9-0 this spring, giving her the league's top height.

Senior Sarah Imel (No. 2 in the 400 and No. 5 in the 200), sophomore Elizabeth Emery (No. 4 in the 1,500), senior Kate Emery (No. 2 in the 300 low hurdles), and senior Kate Cary (No. 4 in the high jump) are also among the league's top performers this season.

Valley Catholic is in a meet with Yamhill-Carlton at Scappoose today (Thursday). The district meet is Thursday and Saturday, May 8 and 10 at Tigard High School.