TRACK and FIELD: Forest Grove shows huge improvement from last season in its Pacific Conference opener against perennial powerhouse Tigard
by: Dan Brood, Forest Grove’s Noelle Castle (left) crosses the finish line a fraction of a second ahead of Tigard’s Courtney Schild in the 100-meter dash last Wednesday afternoon.

On the surface, the scores from last Wednesday's track and field meet between Forest Grove and Tigard are wholly unspectacular.

The Forest Grove girls emerged with a 76-69 victory, while the Viking boys lost by the slimmest of margins, falling 73-72 to the visiting Tigers.

What makes those scores remarkable is the fact that a year ago, Tigard pummeled the Vikings, winning both the boys and girls meets by a score of 120-20. Forest Grove head coach Scott McCahon believes this year's scores are a sign of how far the program has come in one season.

'That's a very big improvement,' McCahon said. 'I'm really pleased with the overall effort. We ran hard and competed, which is really impressive - especially after we got walloped by them last year.'

Forest Grove's one-point loss in the boys meet was made more frustrating by a scoring error that had the team thinking it was victorious after the 4x400 meter relay team of Nick Mulick, Eric Weinbender, Steven Boone and Dusty Klein won the final event of the day.

'We thought we won the meet,' McCahon said. 'But there was an error in the scoring. Tigard had swept the long jump but we thought we got points there, so we thought the relay win clinched the meet for us. It was frustrating, but I was still very pleased with the way we ran.'

Forest Grove junior J.C. MacKinnon swept the first two sprint events, winning the 100-meter dash (11.9 seconds) and the 200 meters (23.3).

Josh Seitz also had two wins for Forest Grove, capturing first in the 1,500 (4:19.6) and the 3,000 (9:33.9). Weinbender won the 800 with a time of 2:05.5.

The Vikings opened field competition with a one-two finish in the discus by Chris Beck and Matt Condon. Beck won the event with a toss of 109 feet, 4 inches. Condon finished second, just two inches behind.

Forest Grove teammate Nick Wallace won the javelin with a throw of 138 feet, and Darren Dawson was victorious in the pole vault, clearing 12 feet. John Fredericks finished second (11'0").

On the girls side, Forest Grove's 4x400 relay team of Jessica Hayes, Taylor McCahon, Chrissy Marshall and Tracy Zapf won the final event of the afternoon with a time of 4:26.0, and that performance really did lock up the team victory for the Lady Vikings.

Noelle Castle won the 100-meter dash (14.2) to get things started, and teammate Jessica Hayes followed with a win in the 200 (28.7). Hayes also finished second in the 400 (65.4).

Marshall, a freshman, had a big day for the Lady Viks, winning both the 800 (2:31.6) and the 1,500 (5:03.7).

'She's very tough,' McCahon said of Marshall. 'I was really pleased with the way she ran.'

Elsewhere, Forest Grove swept the top three spots in the shot put, led by senior Annie Matiaco (34'7.5"). Taylor Walton and Karen Canales finished second and third, respectively.

Hannah Ringholm won the javelin for Forest Grove (120'3") and Brandi Dawson took first in the long jump (13'10").

'I was pleased with the kids and really proud of them for the way they performed,' McCahon said.

Forest Grove will play host to Canby this afternoon, followed by a trip to the Aloha Invitational on Saturday.

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