Genna Settle, Tori Johnson and the 400-meter relay come away with district wins

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: COLIN STORM - Estacada teammates Tori Johnson, left, and Genna Settle celebrate after finishing 1-2 in the 200-meter final.MILWAUKIE — The Estacada girls track team turned in a series of top performances during a third-place effort at the Tri-Valley League district meet last week at LaSalle Prep.

The Rangers finished with 125 points to hold off LaSalle Prep for a spot in the top half of the league. Reigning 4A state champ Gladstone won the meet with 187.5 points.

The meet turned into a showcase for the top teams with Gladstone, Molalla and Estacada combining to win 16 of the 17 events.

Senior sprinter Genna Settle led the charge for Estacada with lopsided wins in the 100-meter dash (12.44 seconds) and 200 (25.69). She also anchored the winning 400 relay (49.25) along with teammates Alexis Chavez, Tori Johnson and Ashley Teel. Settle started her meet with a third-place effort in the long jump on the opening day.

Sophomore Tori Johnson also came up big in her first-ever district meet after missing it her rookie season while on a family vacation to Mexico.

She highlighted her opening day with a win in the high jump, emerging from a logjam of athletes attempting to get over the bar at 5 feet. After seeing the other four competitors drop out, Johnson went up and over on her third and final try to claim the first-place points.

“I knew I could do it, and I knew I wanted to win. I didn’t think about anything else,” Johnson said. “I was determined — I did not want to be done yet.”

by: ESTACADA NEWS: DAVID BALL - Estacadas Tori Johnson reacts after knocking off the bar in the high jump. She won the event after being the only one to get over at 5 feet.

She came back Friday and picked up second-place points in the 200 and 400 races. Settle and Johnson tied for the team lead with 28.5 points apiece and will carry almost the entire load for the Rangers at this weekend’s state meet (see sidebar).

Estacada also got a boost on the track from distance runner Mariah Johnson, who was fourth in the 1,500 and third in the 3,000. She was hoping for a state spot in the longer race, keeping pace with Molalla’s Brianna Loughridge and LaSalle’s Morgan Tholl for most of the 7 1/2 laps. The trio of runners formed a wall that quickly separated from the rest of the pack.

With two laps remaining, Tholl put on a spurt that saw her pull ahead by about five strides. It appeared Loughridge and Johnson would be left to battle for the last spot to state over the final half-mile.

But that all changed just before the bell lap when Loughridge made an aggressive move of her own, quickly closing ground and taking over the lead spot. Tholl finish second and Johnson came in third falling back slightly over the final 400 meters.

“I wanted to go with them and see a mile in if I could stay with them or pass them up,” Johnson said. “I felt okay, but they just had more at the end. Still, I did my best and finished with my best time.”

Johnson’s time of 11:11.64 marked a personal-best by about seven seconds, but she was left one spot short of a trip to Eugene.

“Finishing third at district is tough,” Estacada coach Jon Erickson said. “You work really hard, but you’re left right on the edge.”

Fellow distance runner Kayla Searis came in fourth in the 800 and was seventh in the 1,500.

Sophomore Sarah Davies suffered a similar heartbreak, coming up just short of state in two events. Battling a foot injury late in the season, she learned how to jump from her off foot heading into the meet.

“She had to become a whole new jumper, and it just didn’t pay off in time,” Erickson said.

Davies finished third in the triple jump and was among a four-person jumble for the second-best mark in the high jump, but a few extra attempts during the competition put her officially in fourth place. She also finished fifth in the high hurdles.

Other top-five finishers for the Rangers were Teel in the 100, Jessica Wheeler in the triple jump and Ashley Liber in the javelin.

View an online photo gallery from the meet at …

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