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Braves claim three state titles

Banks boys cap the best season in school history by winning three state championships in Eugene

After a number of successful seasons in recent years, the Banks track and field teams continued to reach new heights during the 2011 season.

A year after placing third at the state meet to capture their first-ever state trophy, the Banks boys did themselves one spot better this year, scoring 54 points in a second-place effort behind Philomath last month in Eugene.

And the Lady Braves captured their third Cowapa League district title in as many years before finishing in a tie for 12th place at state.

'It was the most successful season we've ever had,' said longtime Banks head coach Rob Frank, who celebrated his 33rd season leading the school's track program.

The Banks boys, who also finished as runners-up at the district meet, rode the strength of their senior class to that state trophy.

For the second year in a row, sprint tandem Linus Nogren and Colby Seyferth played integral roles in the team's success. They repeated their 1-2 finish in the 400 meters from a year ago, and each boy also added a second-place finish in another individual event - Seyferth in the 100 meters and Norgren in the 200.

And for the final race of the meet, Seyferth and Norgren teamed with classmates T.J. Sandstrom and Deven Murray to capture a somewhat unexpected state championship in the 4x400 relay.

'It just kind of came together kind of mystically,' Frank said of the long relay. '(Sandstrom and Murray) just came out of nowhere and kept running faster and faster.'

Seyferth graduates with school records in the 100 and 200, while Norgren holds the Braves' top marks in the 400 and 800, Frank said. The boys are also half of both relay record quartets.

'I've been (at Banks) 35 years and they're certainly the two most dominant male athletes we've ever had,' Frank said.

Matt Hidalgo added a third state championship to the Braves' haul in the pole vault. After finishing third in 2010, he capped an undefeated season by beating all comers this year for his first state title. And with his personal best clearance of 16 feet at the Cowapa League district meet, Hidalgo recorded the third-best vault in the state this year, regardless of classification.

'I don't think anybody works harder than Matt, and clearly that work ethic has paid off,' Frank said.