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Greers record highlights state meet

by: Matthew Sherman, Lake Oswego’s Elijah Greer crosses the finish line after winning the 800m at last week’s state track meet.

Lake Oswego and Lakeridge athletes found themselves right in the thick of some of the most memorable events at this year's state track meet in Eugene. Each school sent strong contingents to Hayward Field and the result was some truly stellar performances.

The highlight of the meet for Lake Oswego was the highly competitive boys 800m event. It was expected to be a neck-and-neck showdown between the Lakers' Elijah Greer and Lincoln's Nathan Mathabane.

Instead, Greer turned it into a runaway. Greer kept himself near the front of the pack for the first lap and then, with about 300 meters to go, he put it into high gear and never looked back.

Greer took over the lead with 200 meters to go and extended his lead all the way to the finish line, crossing in a time of 1:50.6, a new meet record. It was Greer's second individual championship having won the 1500 last year.

'I was really excited. My goal for the year was to P.R. from last year and I did that. It's been a wonderful experience,' Greer said.

Greer qualified in the 1500 this year as well but opted to focus on his 800 race and the 4x400 relay. It was a remarkable race for Greer who, earlier in the year, ran the nation's fastest time in the 800.

Lake Oswego's 4x400 relay team of Greer, Thomas Belesiu, Micah Hatfield and James Ratliff came in sixth place, just three hundredths of a second behind Barlow.

'Our long relay team took fourth last year and we ran a faster time and took sixth this year which shows how competitive that event was,' Laker coach Eric Lider said.

Hatfield and Ratliff also made waves for the Lakers in the hurdles. The pair qualified in both the high and intermediate hurdles and, in the 110 hurdles, were expected to contend for a state title.

The Lakers didn't disappoint. The two have been separated by the slimmest of margins all year and, on Saturday, they finished second and third in the state with Ratliff edging out his teammate. Ratliff ran a 15.05 to Hatfield's 15.17.

In the 300 hurdles, Hatfield scored more points for Lake Oswego, taking seventh place overall. In the prelims of that event, Ratliff appeared to have a berth in the finals wrapped up but, unfortunately, he clipped the last hurdle and fell.

As a team, the Laker boys ended up in a tie for seventh place with Jesuit and were just two points shy of a top-five finish.

'We're already talking a little about next year. We weren't really concerned with our point totals this year but with everyone coming back we might try and set ourselves up,' Lider said.

Perhaps the best race of the entire meet occurred in the boys 3,000. The two heavy favorites in the event were Lakeridge's Dave Marks and Franklin's Bryce Burgess.

That pair stayed at the front of the pack and Marks and Burgess eventually separated themselves late in the race. Then Marks began his signature kick on the final lap. But Burgess was able to keep up.

The two battled head to head for the final 100 meters with neither one giving an inch. Burgess just edged Marks out at the finish line, winning in a time of 8:36.83, less than a second ahead of Marks.

The Lakeridge girls, meanwhile, finished in a tie for eighth place with Sandy. The Pacers did all of their damage in the field events and were actually sitting in second place after the first two days of competition.

'We had a lot of kids who had been there before and they weren't intimidated,' Pacer girls coach Ken James said.

Samantha Berryman scored in all three of the events she was entered in. In the long jump, Berryman leapt 17-feet even in the finals which was good enough for sixth place.

And in the triple jump, Berryman's leap of just over 36 feet was good enough for fourth place. In her four years at Lakeridge, Berryman has scored a total of 41 points at the state meet, a Lakeridge record.

'Because of her limited training I think it was tough for Sam to get into a rhythm this year. But she's so consistent. I think if she just focused on something like the triple jump she could win a state title but she's the type of kid who wants to do the most for her team and she went above and beyond what we could have asked for,' James said.

Berryman and Lexi Ross each scored in the high jump on Thursday.

Ross, a sophomore, overcame a pair of early misses and cleared 5'3' to take third place. Berryman cleared 5'2' and took fifth place.

Also picking up points for Lakeridge was javelin thrower Andrea Hopkins.

Hopkins had a solid early toss which left her in second place behind two-time defending state champion Ali Super.

But then, on her last throw, Beaverton's Kelly Marineau passed her. Hopkins had one throw of her own remaining and made the most of it, tossing the javelin 144'9' to retake second place and nearly surpass Super.

'That just shows how competitive she it to step up like that,' James said.

The Lake Oswego girls also scored in a handful of events. Tate Murray took eighth place in the 1500 and nearly made the finals in the 800.

She ran a season-best time in that event but it wasn't enough. Jacqui Wallis also picked up an eighth place finish after qualifying for the finals in the 400.

'Jacqui really battled to make the finals and anytime you run a lifetime best time you can't be too disappointed,' Lider said.

The Lakers picked up three points with their sixth place finish in the 4x400 relay which featured Murray, Wallis, Kate Mogentale and Aly Steinbacher. The Lakers edged out Lincoln in the race by a hundredth of a second.