Gophers infiltrate Pop Rannow Stadium

Gresham shines in three-way dual meet at Sandy's Pop Rannow Stadium and claims wins over Pioneer girls and boys
by: Michael Cade, Sandy's Michael T. Lynch endures the rain, sleet and hail during his shot put throw.

Katie Pelchar was at it again for the Sandy Pioneers on Wednesday, April 18.

The freshman phenom had another fine day in the high jump, taking home top honors there in the dual meet with Gresham and Hood River by leaping 5-feet-0-inches.

'I take full credit,' Sandy high jump coach Chris Nelson said jokingly of his star pupil and her top mark.

Pelchar was not the only field participant to impress on the day.

Her teammate Kayla Hendershot tossed the shot put a whopping 111-11, which flat-out dwarfed the next-best throw, a mark of 96-4 tossed by Gresham's Kelsey Strot, who is certainly no slouch.

Pole vault events were eventually canceled due to weather and safety concerns, so no Sandians were able to represent in that area.

But weather couldn't stop the triple jump, where Sandy freshman Keree Smith - an outstanding skier for the Pioneers in winter sports - hopped 32-8. Pelchar wasn't far behind her, either, finishing in third place with a mark of 32-6.

Ashley Moss and Chelsy Pecnick provided a 1-2 sweep in the javelin finals as Moss hurled a lengthy 115-2 and Pecnick a 98-6.

The Sandy boys excelled in field events as well, as junior Blake Bithell, the tremendous Pioneer wide receiver, threw a tremendous discus hurl of 129-7, good enough for first place honors.

Bithell's teammate Kevin Warren tossed the discus one foot behind Bithell with a mark of 128-7 to help the duo secure a 1-2 sweep in that event.

And Michael T. Lynch might have come away with the top shot put mark (41-10) had Gresham's Herculean J.R. Velasquez not tossed a 49-10. (Velasquez currently owns the state's top shot put throw with a distance of 55-8.)

Elsewhere in the realm of throwing and jumping, junior Trevor Hayward leapt 5-8 to tie Hood River's Stefan Zosa for top marks in the high jump, and sophomore Jordan Gray achieved the best long jump result with a 20-2 mark. He later indicated he'd be shooting for a mark of 21-0 as the season wears on.

Over in the running events, Brenna Hoffman drew stiff competition for the second week in a row as she faced fleet-footed Schavey Hill in a dramatic 400-meter race.

Hoffman and Hill took turns exchanging leads and Hoffman led down the final leg of the run until Hill's late surge assured her of a victory.

'(Hoffman)'s a great competitor,' Hill said. 'She always gives me a run for my money. I appreciate that.'

Hill, trailing down the final stretch, said she was able to anticipate some of Hoffman's tendencies and that enabled her to burst ahead for the winning mark of 57.24 seconds.

Hill did fall to Hoffman in the 200 sprint though, as the latter completed the race in 26.14 seconds to Hill's 26.48.

Other top girls on the day included junior Tressa Hoffman - who won the 800 run with a mark of 2:31.06 - and sophomore Lynsey Bender, who had the best 3,000 time by far with her mark of 11:49.18.

Boys runners represented well too, with track neophyte Garrett Cartner continuing to shed his 'newbie' reputation with a fine showing in the 100 dash. Cartner finished second to Gresham's Peter DeBois with a mark of 11.73.

Cartner, Ryan Ball, Jake Seidel and Christopher Wagner achieved top honors in the 400 relay with a time of 46.80. Ball came in second in the 200 to Gresham's mercurial Shaun Lambert with a time of 23.12.

Jacob Cuniff and Devin Connell put together solid efforts in the 800 run, finishing in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively, behind Gresham's Spencer Clark.

Connell indicated that he was somewhat fatigued for the second week in a row.

'It's a tough time of the season,' he said.

Connell finished second in the 1,500 though, which was probably a decent indicator that his tank wasn't completely empty.

Clark took home top honors in that event, too, with a mark of 4:27.22.

Team scores

Boys - Gresham 121.5, Hood River 23.5; Gresham 87, Sandy 58; Sandy 118, Hood River 26.

Girls - Gresham 77, Sandy 66; Sandy 98, Hood River 45.