The Valiants place third at the Class 3A state meet at Western Oregon
MONMOUTH - Score early, score often and just keep on scoring.
The Valley Catholic girls track team did just that in the Class 3A state meet last weekend, and in the end, the Valiants got the score they wanted most: A third-place finish and the first state trophy in school history.
Valley Catholic got a win and a runner-up finish from senior Austin Lundin in her two individual events, top-five efforts from both its relay teams, and top efforts from senior Sara Seiwald and freshman Gabby Rosenthal to rack up 56.5 points. St. Mary's won the girls title with 104 points while Catlin Gabel was second at 67. The Class 3A state meet was held Friday and Saturday at Western Oregon University.
'The girls had been disappointed just missing out on a trophy the last two years, and there was a sense of urgency to make sure that that didn't happen again,' said Valley Catholic coach Tommy Manning. 'I give a lot of credit to our senior girls - Erin Gibbs, Austin Lundin, Sara Seiwald, and Colleen Johnson.'
Indeed, VC's seniors contributed to more than half the points the team scored at state, none more so than Lundin, who ran to victory in Friday's 3000 with a time of 11 minutes, 7.42 seconds (she won by more than 13 seconds), came back to finish second in Saturday's 1500 at 4:57.95, and also ran on VC's fifth-place team in the 4 x 400.
Seiwald and Rosenthal also placed in two individual events each, with Seiwald grabbing third in the 1500 at 4:59.55, and later placing seventh in the 800 at 2:28.89. while Rosenthal took fourth in the 200 at 26.87 and fifth in the 100 at 12.85.
Other VC highlights included: freshman Makenzee Cleveland, third in the 400 at 1:00.87; senior Colleen Johnson, fourth in the pole vault at 8-6; the 4 x 100 team of Erin Gibbs, Claire McLoughlin, Rosenthal and Madelyn Bernard, fifth at 52.15; the 4 x 400 relay team of Gibbs, Lundin, Seiwald and Cleveland, fifth at 4:13.43; Sam Kemper, sixth in the javelin at 116-10.
'We knew if a trophy was going to happen, this might be our year,' Manning said. 'We knew that if we just did what we've been doing, we would set ourselves up in a position to finish in the top four.'
In the boys meet, the Valiants took 20th overall with 13 points - all of those scored by junior Andy Holstrom.
Holstrom got his state meet started with a second-place finish in the 3000, running 9:03.39 to trail only Hudson Eustace of Cascade Christian, who finished at 8:49.94.
'He stepped up big and ran a consistent pace the whole way,' Manning said.
Holstrom came back strong on Saturday in a tough 1500 field, eventually settling for fourth place in a school-record time of 4:08.03. Austin Collins of Colton won in 4:00.21.
'Collins set a fast pace and Andy managed to hang around in the front pack for virtually all of the race,' Manning said. 'Even though he got edged out for third, it was the most impressive performance of any 1500-meter runner in the school's history.'