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Vikings split final dual meet

Forest Grove boys breeze past South Salem while the Viking girls drop a narrow decision

It seems completely appropriate that seniors would take their turn in the spotlight on Senior Day.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES
 - Forest Grove's Ilean Franco takes off after receiving the baton from teammate Britney Perdew during the girls 4x400-meter relay at last Wednesday's dual meet against South Salem.

Such was the case last Wednesday, when a number of Forest Grove’s elder statesmen turned in strong performances in their final Greater Valley Conference track and field dual meet of the season at Dick Hendricks Stadium.

Some of those performances keyed the Vikings to an 82-63 victory over South Salem’s boys, while the girls came within a whisker of sweeping the Saxons in a 74-71 loss.

“We had a really good day,” Forest Grove coach Perry Herbst said, adding that a number of his Vikings looked good heading into the district meet.

On the girls’ side, Dominque Duncan, Alyssa Villalobos and Lydia Gronseth were several of those seniors who shined.

Duncan ran lifetime bests in both of her individual races. She got a win too, in the 400, going under 64 seconds for the first time with a clocking of 1 minute, 3.84 seconds. That gave Duncan a PR in four of her five most recent 400 outings. She added another PR and a third place in the 200 in 28.67 and also ran on the first-place long relay team (4:31.20), along with Hannah Berdahl, Ilean Franco and Britney Perdew.

“It was pretty emotional, I would say, just because it’s the last ... meet of the season,” Duncan said. “So many memories from this, and PRing and all that, that was the best thing ever, especially at home.”

Villalobos chopped about two-thirds of a second off her 100 hurdles PR, winning easily in 16.09. That mark ranks her third in the league — and just .16 behind the GVC leader — heading into this week’s district meet. She also won the long jump (16-3¼) and took second in the javelin (108-1).

As for Gronseth, even though she ran most of the 3,000 by herself, she still ran a PR of nearly 19 seconds, winning in 12:03.75.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Forest Grove's Dominique Duncan hugs teammate Kasandra Perdew following the girls 4x400-meter relay at a GVC track and field dual meet last Wednesday afternoon.

Other girls who posted solid efforts included Sophie Davis, who won the 300 hurdles in 52.39; Franco, who ran a season best of 13.11 in the 100 and a time of 27.28 in the 200, finishing second in both races; freshman Hannah Aguirre, who ran an impressive time of 4:54.70 to finish second behind South Salem’s Anna Chau; Lucia Mendoza, who took second place in both the 400 (1:05.48) and 800 (2:36.42); and Mila Lumae, who won the pole vault (8-6).

Senior leaders Ben Pearson and Murimi Nyamu also excelled.

Pearson breezed to victory in the 110 hurdles (15.51) and added a win in the high jump (5-8). He enters the district meet ranked first in both the high and intermediate hurdles.

Nyamu ran a slight PR to win the 800 (2:01.93). But he had been gunning for a sub-2-minute time and wasn’t very happy with that result, so he jumped in the 3,000 as a late entry. That meant he was entered as a junior varsity runner, but he crushed everyone in an evenly paced race, finishing in 8:38.07. That time was a new outdoor school record and the eighth-fastest in the state.

“I really wanted to go sub-2 and I was really disappointed that it didn’t happen, because I think my workouts and my fitness is there,” Nyamu said. “So then I just decided to hop into the 3K just so it doesn’t end on that note.”

There could be more to come from the senior standout too. Back on Feb. 14, he ran a time of 8:27.74 at the UW Indoor Open in Seattle. Getting in his first race at that distance — though he did run a 3,200 at the Arcadia Invitational in early April — since the one in Washington was helpful too.

“There’s no doubt,” Nyamu said. “You don’t think about like, ‘maybe I don’t know how to run 3Ks anymore.’ It’s like a good, calming feeling going into this last week.”

Jackson Maybee-Davis won the 200 in a personal best of 23.71 and was just shy of another in a runner-up 400 performance (54.71). Teammate Matt Stanich cruised to the win in the one-lapper (51.96). Hyrum Hansen finished third in 55.15 to complete the sweep.

Riley Stewart won the 1,500 in 4:21.79, another lifetime best on the day. He ended the meet with another win, running to first place in the 1,600 relay (3:42.53), along with Maybee-Davis, Hansen and twin brother Garrett Stewart.

In the field, Bobby Taylor swept the shot put (42-3¼) and discus (134-7). He ranks fifth in the GVC in the latter event. With a height of 12-0, Joel Fletcher won the pole vault by a foot, with teammates Andrew Stephen and Zachary Mossbarger both clearing 11-0 to go 2-3.

Before the long relay, Forest Grove’s two-dozen-plus seniors were recognized, lining up with family members along much of the length of the football field by the time they were all introduced.

“With our seniors this year, I feel like that since it’s our last year, we have to step up and show the underclassmen what it takes to be a Viking,” Duncan said of what her class has brought to the program. “We worked hard for it and it was a great year.”

It’s not quite over, either. The GVC district meet is scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Wortman Stadium in McMinnville. The top two finishers in each event will automatically qualify for the Class 6A state meet, slated for May 20-21 at Hayward Field in Eugene.