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Forest Grove tops North Salem in battle of Vikings

Forest Grove sweeps visiting North Salem in the Vikings' first-ever GVC dual meet


The Vikings rolled in this one.

Actually, in the case of last Wednesday’s track meet between Forest Grove and North Salem, both teams were nicknamed the Vikings.

But it was the host Forest Grove sides who swept to victory in their first-ever Greater Valley Conference dual meet. Forest Grove’s boys edged North Salem 78½ to 65½ while the girls dusted the visitors 85-59.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES
 - Forest Grove runners Dylan Richmond (left) and Matt Stanich turn the corner during the 200 meters at last Wednesday's dual meet.

The home team got plenty of standout performances, among them four-event scoring efforts from Dylan Richmond and Alyssa Villalobos, a crackling early-season 1,500-meter time from Murimi Nyamu, and personal bests by Raymond Byerly and Joel Fletcher in the field.

That Villalobos — who won three events and finished second in another — keeps finding success should not come as a surprise, and yet she keeps reinventing herself. The junior all-state long jumper tried the high jump for the first time in a meet last week and cleared 5 feet, 1 inch despite understandably less-than-perfect technique. That tied North Salem’s Tiffany Wall, who leads the league with a 5-2 clearance, for first place last Wednesday.

“There’s a lot more form to go along with it, because all I’m doing is running and jumping up,” admitted Villalobos, who ranked in the top three in the conference in five different events entering this week. “But it was really cool, especially the one I cleared for, I think, 5-1 ... it felt so nice. My feet came right back up.”

Villalobos added wins in the long jump (16-3) and 300-meter hurdles (49.53 seconds), which she raced for the first time this spring. She also took second to GVC leader Isabel Gomez in the 100 hurdles (17.26).

Ilean Franco added four wins, with two of them coming in the relays. The sophomore won the 100 in 14.04 and came on strong late to take the 200 in 28.83. Kassy Perdew (29.28) and Bailey Mickel (29.46) completed a Forest Grove sweep in the 200.

Mickel and Franco teamed with Britney Perdew and Alice Goldoni for first in the 400 relay (53.74), while Franco, the Perdew sisters and Dominique Duncan cruised to a 1,600 relay win (4:38.44).

Other Forest Grove winners included Britney Perdew in the 400 (1:06.76), Nina Arciniega in the 3,000 (12:32.91), and Hannah Woods in the discus (90-9) and shot put (30-1½).

Though he ran out front all by his lonesome, Nyamu turned in a speedy time of 4:07.98 in the 1,500. That time ranked as the seventh-fastest in the state heading into this week and was a personal best for the junior by more than eight seconds.

Already this season, Nyamu has shown better closing speed, which he hopes will pay dividends later on this spring.

“My goal is the 3K,” Nyamu noted. “It’s always been and always will be, so it’s good to know that I can compete in the (1,500), and so then when it gets longer and I’ll get better, I’ll hopefully be able to hold off some people coming the last 1,500 ... which I’ve always lacked in the past.”

As for Richmond, he picked up steam as the meet went along. He took second in the long jump with a leap of 18-8 and struggled a bit during the last 150 in the 400 to take third in 53.79 behind North Salem’s Eli Valenzuela (52.04) and Forest Grove’s Matt Stanich (52.20).

But Richmond was able to show that his winter training is in fact paying off by running a PR of 23.39 in the 200, beating Stanich (24.09) and Christian Guerra (24.63) to the line to lead a Forest Grove sweep. At the end of the meet, he anchored a 1,600 relay team that included Stanich, Ricky Torres and Garrett Stewart, which ran a time of 3:35.47 with no challenge from the visitors.

“I feel great about where I’m at. I’m still getting better,” Richmond said. “This year, I’m already starting ahead of where I was at my peak last year. I’m hoping to go to state for the open (400) and the (200) and the 4x4.”

In the field, Byerly added 40 feet to his season best and nearly 16 feet to his lifetime best with a toss of 160-0 in the javelin. He added a third place in the 100 in 12.38 behind Jakob Orlowsky (11.96) and Stacey Clayton (12.06) and ran on the winning 400 relay with Clayton, Orlowsky and Torres (45.91).

Just a sophomore, Fletcher had a breakthrough day in the pole vault, claiming a win and an 18-inch PR with an 11-6 clearance. He added a third place in the triple jump with another personal best (37-5½).

Orlowsky also had a big day, adding two more wins in the 110 hurdles (16.82) and 300 hurdles (43.87), while Hyrum Hansen (2:06.39) and Max Norman (2:07.37) went 1-2 in the 800.

Forest Grove is on the road for both of its meets this week, at Sprague today and at the Lower Columbia Invitational in St. Helens on Saturday. The next home meet is April 15 against McMinnville.

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