Forest Grove runners shining despite soggy spring weather
Vikings are weathering the storm and preparing to face stiff competition this week against Tigard
It's been an admittedly wet spring, but Mother Nature provided some sunshine over the weekend and the Forest Grove track and field team responded with two school records at the Aloha Relays on Friday and 16 individual or relay placers at the Lower Columbia Invitational in St. Helens on Saturday.
'We had a beautiful day on Saturday and the distance medleys had great weather on Friday,' said Forest Grove coach Scott McCahon. 'We're improving every day. The kids are PRing all over the place and they're working really hard in practice. This is a great group.'
Both Forest Grove's boys and girls distance medley relay teams set school records at the Aloha Relays on Friday.
Although not a sanctioned OSAA track event, the distance medley features four runners, each handling a different distance. With senior Tyler Shipley running the opening 1,200-meter leg, followed by senior James McCahon running the 400, junior Ian Dehner running the 800 and sophomore Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski closing with the 1,600, Forest Grove established a new school record of 10 minutes, 48.85 seconds.
The girls medley relay team of freshman Rubi Vergara-Grindell, freshman Karimi Nyamu, sophomore Julia Khoury and junior Elena Torry-Schrag also set a school record, finishing the event in 14:04.81.
'Both relay teams broke the school record by 16 seconds, so it was a good day,' McCahon said.
On Saturday, the Vikings took a limited contingent of athletes to the Lower Columbia Invitational in St. Helens.
'Saturday was prom night, so a lot of kids didn't go, but the ones who did go ran really well,' McCahon said.
Forest Grove had 14 individual placers, and both the girls 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay teams also landed on the podium, finishing sixth and fourth, respectively.
Among the Vikings' numerous individual placers, junior Paul Schot took third in the long jump (19 feet, 7 inches) and sixth in the triple jump (38-2). Zac Collins finished fifth in the triple jump (38-6¼), Patrick Lash was fourth in the pole vault (10-6) and Tim Hutchins took third in the shot put (43-0).
Sophomore Tate DeSully had a pair of top-eight finishes in St. Helens, nabbing fifth place in the shot put (41-7) and seventh in the discuss (114-10).
On the girls side, several of the Lady Vikings' young runners earned trips to the podium. Khoury took fourth place in the 800 meters (2:36.62), junior Claire Nadauld was fifth in the 400 (1:06.86), freshman Madison Grubbs placed seventh in the 200 (28.96) and sophomore Bailey Sahnow finished eighth in the 100 (14.01).
Nadauld and sophomore Corinne Reed finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 300-meter low hurdles. Nadauld ran the event in 53.76 and Reed ran 54.09. Junior Jessamy Taylor also had a sixth-place finish in the long jump (29-10).
While last weekend's performances were certainly impressive, the most memorable moment of the young season came two weeks ago in a Pacific Conference dual meet against McMinnville, when Lizier-Zmudzinski broke the seven-year-old school record in the 1,500 meters.
With his distance coach and the previous record-holder, Kellen Peters, shouting encouragement from the infield, Lizier-Zmudzinski ran the 1,500 in 3:59.25 to break the record by five seconds.
'We give kudo awards to kids who do something special at meets, and the next day Kellen gave his award to Geremia,' McCahon said. 'He told this great story about how he had to wait until the last meet of his senior year to break the school record, and Geremia went out and did it as a sophomore.
'It's not often that you get your award from the person whose record you just broke. It was a really special moment.'