Banks athletes set two meet records and tie another in front of a partisan home crowd at Kelly Field

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Banks senior Devin King surges to a victory in the boys 200 meters on Saturday at the Banks Invitational after Central's Thomas Peterson stumbled and fell near the finish line.Perhaps the scariest aspect of the Banks track and field team is that the best may be yet to come.

Competing in less than ideal conditions on Saturday at the 17-team Banks Invitational, the Braves boys and girls sides certainly showed their quality, combining to set two meet records, tie another and post victories in 10 different events, including a resounding meet-capper of a boys 4x400-meter relay.

While no team scores were kept in the long-running small school invitational, in all it was an impressive showing, especially considering that the weather brought cool temperatures, rain and wind.

“We had a good day. We had a lot of PRs,” Banks coach Rob Frank said. “Weather didn’t help us a lot. Really, it depended on when you were racing. If you happened to hit one of the sunny times, you were in pretty good shape. If you happened to hit one the monsoon times, you weren’t so much. I think that played a big part in a lot of what happened.”

Amy Hilger and Dallin Shurts left perhaps the biggest impressions among Braves competitors, walking away with field athlete of the meet honors.

Hilger picked up hers in part for tying the meet record in her specialty, the high jump. She also contributed a win in the triple jump with a personal best of 31 feet, 11 inches, and she finished second in the long jump (15-3½).

With a clearance of 5-6, Hilger not only tied the meet record shared by Banks’ Lindsey Schmidlin (2002) and North Marion’s Kelsey Kahle (2004, 2005), but she also posted the top mark among Oregon high jumpers regardless of classification. (Sheldon’s Geneva Lehnert topped the same height Saturday at the Oregon Relays in Eugene.) Hilger came in toward the end of a competition that lasted more than two hours, and she finally put together some technical aspects that helped her clear 5-6 on her last of three attempts.

“It’s amazing — senior year, too,” Hilger said about her new PR. “It’s great to get it on the last Banks Invite that I’ll be at.”

Her high jump clearance did not much surprise her coach. Hilger’s previous best was 5-5, and she had cleared 5-2 or 5-3 in every meet this spring prior to the Banks Invite.

“I just kept saying to her, ‘It’s going to happen. The next couple ... meets, you’ll be there,’” Frank noted. “And this was the day.”

As for Shurts, he smashed the meet record in the boys discus, and for good measure ran the leadoff leg on Banks’ winning long relay. The 6-foot-6 Shurts unfurled his record launch of 169-4 on his second attempt. That snapped the meet standard of 160-10 set by North Marion’s Nathan Kosikowski in 2001 and was the second-longest throw in Oregon heading into this week.

It was also the third consecutive meet in which he set a personal best — all in a span of eight days. And perhaps there is more in store for Shurts. After that record-breaking throw, rain started to fall, making it hard to grip the metal implement.

“I’m going for 180, 185, in that range, because I’m trying to get some scholarships,” Shurts said.

While Shurts’ winning discus throw set a new meet record by fathoms, Banks’ other new meet standard came by the slimmest of margins. Kindel Bailey topped the girls javelin field with a throw of 127-10, edging the 2007 meet record set by Central’s Sara Cole by a mere three inches.

While that was close, Bailey’s victory wasn’t, as the junior topped the field by more than 17 feet. She also took third in the shot put (30-9).

On the boys’ side, other Banks victors were Lucas Hidalgo (pole vault, 13-0); Garrett Markham (javelin, 152-7); Devin King (200, 23.85); that 4x400 relay of Shurts, Nick Boguski, Aaron Streblow and Devin King (3:38.63); and Jake Sandhagen (shot put, 43-1), who added a second-place finish behind Shurts in the discus (142-4).

Several other boys also finished well in their respective field events. Stephen Huang took second in the triple jump (38-9½), Keenan Marston finished third in the high jump (5-8); Enrique Smith was fourth in the shot put (39-9) and fifth in the discus (118-9); and Hildalgo also contributed a sixth place in the long jump (17-9¼). by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Banks senior Dallin Shurts runs the anchor leg of the Braves' winning 4x400-meter relay team at the Banks Invitational on Saturday.

While the Braves did much of their damage in the field, they also fared pretty well on the track, led by King, who forsook baseball this season to concentrate fully on track for the first time as a senior.

“I think track is where I should have been the whole time, I think,” King said.

His 200 victory came after disappointment in the 400. King entered the meet undefeated in the one-lap event, and he posted a Class 4A leading time of 50.27 while winning the Meet of Champions in Salem on April 12. But on Saturday, he was surprised a bit by a third-place finish (52.79) behind Central’s Grant Lindley (51.16) and Scio’s A.J. Holmberg (52.46).

“I think today he put more pressure on himself than he needed to,” Frank said. “We talked about that. I think he’ll learn from that.”

King did rebound in the 200, coming from behind in the home straight and benefiting from a tumble to the track by Central’s Thomas Peterson right before the finish line to edge Tillamook’s Wesley Stirk by eight one-hundredths of a second.

King teamed with Nolan Hill, Streblow and Mykah Rosa for second place in the 4x100 relay (45.57), and he had no trouble maintaining the big lead his teammates gave him in the long relay. The Braves finished more than five seconds up on the field.

Rosa added a top-six finish by placing fifth in the 100 (12.41).

For the girls, Annie Victor contributed a win in the discus (117-11) and a runner-up result in the shot (34-5½). Other top Banks girls field performers were Ellie Monroe (third, discus, 105-10), Ashley Lopez (fifth, javelin, 89-11), Lauren Birr (third, high jump, 4-10; sixth, triple jump, 29-11¾), Ariel Slifka (fifth, long jump, 14-9; sixth, high jump, 4-10), Tori Seed (fifth, pole vault, 6-6) and Bailey Barber (sixth, pole vault, 6-6).

On the track, Maddison King earned a second-place finish in the 100 (13.40) behind Scio’s Natalie Legras (13.35), while Maddy Standley was second in the 1,500 (5:25.07). King also helped the girls 4x100 relay squad, which included Kylie Wells, Morgan Nelson and McKenzie Perry, to a third-place finish (53.28).

Other standout track performers were Tiffany Jansen (fourth, 3,000, 13:12.82), Slifka (fifth, 300 hurdles, 55.19; sixth, 100 hurdles, 18.81), Nelson (fifth, 400, 63.87), and the fourth-place 4x400 squad of Perry, Cassie Streblow, Standley and Nelson (3:32.35).

This afternoon, Banks hosts Scappoose and Tillamook in its final home meet of the season. On Saturday, Frank is taking Shurts, Devin King, Hilger, Bailey, Victor and Hidalgo to compete in one of the top high school invitationals in the state, the Centennial Invitational in Gresham.

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