Hillsboro narrowly beats Century in a dual meet with a pair of victories in the 4x400-meter relays

Every once in a while in high school track and field dual meets, either the boys’ or the girls’ competition comes down to the 4x400-meter relay to decide the victors. Rarely do both duals come down to that final race.

But that is exactly what happened at the Hillsboro and Century dual meet last Wednesday at Hare Field in Hillsboro. And in the end, the Spartans had reserved enough firepower to win both long relays and sweep the first Pacific Conference meet of the season for both schools. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Century's Angel Salazar leads the pack to the finish line during his victory in the boys 800 meters at last Wednesday’s conference dual meet against Hilhi.

The Hilhi boys topped Century, 75-70, while the girls won 75-69. (Only two girls cleared a height in the pole vault, leaving third place in that event and one point on the table.)

On the girls’ side, Tanya Jones, Sami Moellmer, Lauren Lykins and Anna Dean quickly drew away from Century in the long relay, winning in 4 minutes, 16.12 seconds, to seal the team victory. The Jaguars quartet of Ashley Brown, Cassidy VanDomelen, Micaela Brophy and Braanna Weber finished a little more than 10 seconds behind.

A similar strategy — get the lead early and hold it — worked out for the Hilhi boys relay of Moises Mejia, Adam Morton, Michael Gonzalez and Jackson Wilson, who finished in 3:46.15, more than 12 seconds better than Century’s quartet of Ishmael Omulindi, Conner Lorber, Christian Gutierrez-Treat and Caleb HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Hillsboro junior Lauren Lykins leans across the finish line during her victory in the 800 meters at last Wednesday’s dual meet against Century.

“I’d have to look, but our boys haven’t beat Century in probably three, four, maybe five years,” Hillsboro coach Tim Kasper said. “So it was good. Our boys two years ago didn’t win a dual meet. Last year we won one, and this year we think we can win two, three, four, so it’s a big improvement.”

The Spartans girls — Pacific Conference co-dual meet titlists and district meet winners in 2012 — did much of their damage on the track, picking up wins in the 100 (Moellmer), 200 (Kylee Taube), 800 (Lykins), 100 hurdles (Dean) and short relay (Moellmer, Cassidy Estep, Taube, Dean) in addition to the long relay. Erika Moellmer was a double winner for Hilhi in the field, in the high jump and pole vault.

Century countered with victories in the 400 (Kylie Bundy), 1,500 and 300 hurdles (Weber), 3,000 (Mira Gill), shot put (Chelsea Ronek), discus (Jamie Adams), javelin (Bailey Griffo), and long and triple jumps (VanDomelen).

With some Spartans nipping at her heels, Weber posted the fastest times in the Pacific Conference in her individual events heading into this past Wednesday’s round of dual meets. Weber ran a time of 4:58.14 in the 1,500, finishing just ahead of Lykins, who was timed in 5:03.19. And in the low hurdles, Sami Moellmer pushed her to a personal-best time of 48.10 — to Moellmer’s 48.45 in her first time running the event.

For Lykins, the meet revealed she is in close to personal-best form. The Hilhi junior ran just a few seconds slower than her 1,500 best and charged from the pack midway through the 800 to win going away in 2:29.62. Century’s Brophy was second, about 10 seconds behind.

“My coach had the plan with me running an 80 and then just trying to beat the split the next lap,” Lykins said about the 800. “But I was kind of uncomfortable with how close they were, so I tried to pick it up a little bit earlier and then I tried to bring it home the second lap.”

VanDomelen could also be on the cusp of big things for the Jaguars. In addition to winning both horizontal jumps, she set a personal-best mark in the long jump (15-5½) and tied her best effort in the triple jump (32-5) even though the meet marked the first time she contested the event in 2013.

“I didn’t get my (triple jump) PR until like way towards the end of the year, so it was good to start off with and make sure I didn’t lose any progress … so that was good,” VanDomelen said. “My long jump, I was actually really excited, because the only other time I’ve gotten into the 15s was (when) we had a huge backwind.”

On the boys’ side, Cricket Browning showed some speed while being part of three Spartans victories. Despite running on a balky right hip flexor, he won the 400 by more than three seconds (52.25) and picked up key points in the 200 while leading Morton to a 1-2 Hilhi finish. Browning, who moved from Oklahoma not long before the track season started, found out just before the meet began that he would be replacing an ill Spencer Dean on the short relay.

“They had me do it once (the day before the meet), but to my understanding, I wasn’t supposed to be running it at all,” Browning said about taking handoffs and running the relay. “They just kind of threw it at me, like 30 minutes before the track meet. And I was like, ‘Can’t let them down, so I gotta toughen up and learn the steps.’”

The substitution worked out just fine, as Browning, Morton, Gonzalez and Michael Gaskell won in 44.90.

Other event winners for Hilhi were Tim McSpadden in the 1,500, Gaskell in the 110 hurdles, Logan Stugart in the shot put, Marshall Taunton in the pole vault, Gonzalez in the long jump and Tylar Deveraux-Stevens in the javelin.

For Century, Austin Flues did all he could to help his team win. Flues placed in all three jumps and was part of Jaguar sweeps in the high and triple jumps. He was first in the triple jump (38-0), second in the high jump (5-8) and third in the long jump (19-½).

Those results came after Flues had missed the first couple weeks of track practice due to Century making the state playoffs in basketball. Flues has signed with the United States Air Force Academy to play basketball next season.

“I’d been watching the races while I was going. I saw that they were beating us in quite a few, we were beating them in just a couple,” Flues said about the Spartans. “So I knew that every event for us was going to be crucial. The triple I thought was big for us.”

Kristopher Cheesman (100), Angel Salazar (800), Jose Lopez Soto (3,000), Carlos Trujillo Banuelos (300 hurdles), Sheridan Olds (discus) and Christian Gutierrez-Treat (high jump) also picked up wins for Century.

The Jaguars traveled to Glencoe this Wednesday for their second dual meet of the season (after press deadline), while the Spartans were on the road at Newberg. Century also is scheduled to participate in the Willamette Falls Invitational in Oregon City tomorrow before hosting Tualatin in a dual meet next Wednesday, when Hilhi is slated to entertain Forest Grove.

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