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Like a duck to water

Milwaukie youngsters fall in love with track and field

MILWAUKIE - A couple of young ladies from Milwaukie have taken to track and field like a duck takes to water.

Paige Noakes, 10, and Brianne Frieden, 11, turned out for track and field for the first time this spring. So there was some surprise when the two young athletes placed in the top five at the recent Oregon Junior Olympics state age-group championships in the multi-events.

'It was pretty cool,' said Noakes, who will be a fifth grader at Oak Grove School this fall. 'I got a second-place medal at state.'

'I think it's awesome!' said Frieden, who will be a seventh grader at Rowe Middle School. 'I've never done any sport before, but I've always wanted to.'

Noakes placed second in the Bantam girls multi-events, with marks of 16-5 in the shot put, 2-7 in the high jump and 40 seconds in the 200 meters.

Noakes' mark in the shot put was the best of the competition for her age division.

'I like the long jump best,' said Noakes. 'I went 10-1 at a meet in Sandy.'

Noakes said her aunt [Kim Reynolds (Ness)] helped persuade her to turn out for practices with the Mustang Track Club this spring.

'She used to be in track when she was in high school, and she was pretty good,' said Noakes. 'She showed me some medals.'

Reynolds attended Canby High School, where she set school records in the javelin and discus.

Frieden placed fifth at state in the multi-event competition for Midget girls. Her marks were 18.8 in the 80-meter hurdles, 11-6 in the long jump, 22-3 in the shot put, 3-4 in the high jump and 3:30 in the 800 meters.

'I've done Girl Scouts and choir, but I've never done sports before,' said Frieden. 'At first I hated it and I wanted to quit, because I didn't know anything. But once I started practicing and going to meets, it was a lot of fun.'

'Brianne was one of the few people who was here for every practice,' said Mustang Track Club coach Fred Crowe. 'She's a natural athlete. She's improving every day.'

Noakes and Frieden continued to make a name for themselves last Friday, when they traveled to Willamette University to compete in the JO Regionals. Both earned ribbons, with Frieden finishing sixth in her age division and Noakes placing eighth.

'Paige would have done better, but she had an accident in the high jump in practice, and she was nursing an injury,' said Crowe.

Frieden recorded PR's in the hurdles (17.8), high jump (3-5) and 800 (3:16) en route to her sixth-place finish.

'Brianne tries so hard because she wants to be the best, and I like that attitude,' said Crowe.

Noakes had a PR of 3-3 in the high jump at the regional meet. She also improved upon her state-meet mark with an effort of 36.78 in the 200 meters.