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E.K. Invite delivers on drama

Hillsboro's annual invitational meet provides plenty of thrilling finishes and impressive performances


The city’s stars certainly came ready to shine last Friday.

Competing in the 47th annual Elden Kellar Invitational at Hare Field, no Hillsboro-area girls squad picked up the team title. But Century, Glencoe, Hillsboro and Liberty still made a big impression, with participants from the four schools combining to win seven of the 17 events. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Ellie Walker of Columbia River (Wash.) breaks into a smile after edging Liberty's Sarah Martinez and Century's Braanna Weber at the finish line of the 300-meter hurdles last Friday.

The Falcons scored 100 points to finish second only to Columbia River (Wash.), which put up 126½. Hillsboro finished third with 88½, followed by Grant and Kelso (85 each), Canby (72), Glencoe (70) and Century (25).

“I don’t know what it is about the Elden Kellar meet, but it’s just awesome,” said Liberty’s Sarah Martinez, who helped her team’s cause with three top-two finishes. “Just the atmosphere of it and being able to compete with the rest of the Hillsboro schools is pretty cool. Other than the Elden Kellar and the Hillsboro Relays, we don’t really get to compete all together, so I really like doing that.”by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Hilhi's Sami Moellmer gets a hug from a coach after narrowly losing to Liberty's Sarah Martinez (foreground) in the 400 meters last Friday.

As evidenced by its team, Liberty packed plenty of punch, especially from Eli Pecsok — who scored the most points of any girl at the meet with 29 — Sarah Martinez, Tessa Mooney and Rachel Khaw, who added a victory apiece.

Pecsok, who entered the meet with the second-longest shot put mark in the state, won that event by more than six feet with a toss of 38-10¾. She added a runner-up result in the triple jump (38-8¼), a third place behind Hilhi’s Anna Dean and Columbia River’s Ellie Walker in the 100 hurdles (15.75), and a tie for third in the high jump (4-10).

Meanwhile, Martinez defended her 2013 E.K. title in the 400 meters, fending off Hilhi’s Sami Moellmer — also last year’s E.K. runner-up — at the finish line to win 59.98 to 1:00.08. The Whitworth-bound senior ran well under 59 seconds last season, so she was pleased to go sub-60 for the first time this spring last Friday.

“I feel like I’ve been kind of behind on that, but I’m really happy,” Martinez said. “It was really good to run against Sami, because I know that she’s a really, really good runner.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to run against anybody else, because I knew she was really good competition.”

Martinez also came up big in a new event for her this season, the 300 hurdles, taking what she described as a surprise second place in what turned out as nearly a blanket finish.

The top four placers all finished within a half-second of one another, and Walker came out on top in 47.01. Martinez used a great lean for her 47.26, a personal-best time. Canby’s Shianne Davis-Chairet (47.45) and Century’s Braanna Weber (47.50) were close behind.

To round out her day, Martinez led off Liberty’s 4x400 meter relay, which included Khaw, Ashley Martin and Megan Rose. The quartet finished behind only Hilhi, turning in a time of 4:06.05 to break Liberty’s school record.

Khaw also picked up a repeat title, with hers coming in the 1,500. The sophomore kept some distance between herself and Grant’s Thea Foulk in the homestretch to win 4:58.56 to 4:59.83.

Moody posted a winning throw of 103-7 in the discus to set a 2-inch PR and prevail by more than five feet over Spartans senior Mikayla Webb (98-2), the 2013 E.K. champ.

Other point-scorers for Liberty were Tiana Dolson (third, long jump, 15-9¼; sixth, triple jump, 32-3); Simone Wilson (fifth, javelin, 113-0); Alina Munoz-Licea (fifth, 100 hurdles, 17.09; seventh, 300 hurdles, 51.00); Rose (sixth, 400, 1:03.09); and Bonnie Romeo (seventh, 100, 13.46; eighth, 200, 27.56).

Though the Spartans left a few points on the table with the disqualification of their short relay due to an exchange snafu, they still recorded plenty of highlights, led by wins from Dean and the long relay.

Dean won her fourth high hurdles race in five tries this season in 15.34. She also took second in the open 100 (12.52) to Columbia River’s Emily Morgan (12.28) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (48.15).

Moellmer, Kennedy Taube, Kylee Taube and Krissy Thomas capped the meet for the home team with a scintillating win in the 1,600 relay, fighting off Liberty late for the victory. The quartet’s time of 4:02.77 was the third-fastest in the state regardless of classification, as well as fourth on Hilhi’s all-time list.

While Webb admitted to being a bit disappointed with her performance in her primary event, the discus, she had a big breakthrough in the javelin, throwing 119-3 for second place. Mariah Horton of Kelso (Wash.) put up a winning mark of 125-4, while Canby’s Payton Jasmer was just an inch short of Webb, whose throw was a personal best by more than 10 feet and the third-longest ever at Hilhi.

She entered this week ranked third in the discus and fifth in the javelin, which she took up last year.

“I’ve gotten to the point where it’s more just trying to figure out the little stuff,” Webb said. “I’m not necessarily still learning how to throw it. It’s more just getting it farther, because there is that learning curve of figuring out just what you’re supposed to do.”

Thomas added a third in the 200 (26.23) and a fourth in the 100 (12.63), while Kennedy Taube took third in the 400 (1:01.01) and eighth in the long jump (15-1½). Other scorers for the Spartans were Anna Mathisen (third, shot put, 31-8¾); Lauren Lykins (fourth, 3,000, 11:32.39); Kylee Taube (tied for sixth, 200, 26.85); and Mattea Ciliberto (eighth, shot put, 29-1).

Glencoe junior Courtney Vacek broke the school record for the third time this season with her winning triple jump mark of 36-8¾, the fourth-longest leap in the state through the weekend. That distance came on her fourth attempt of the competition.

“I’ve been focusing a lot on my finishes. I haven’t really been the best at that,” said Vacek, out for the team for the first time this spring. “I’ve been trying to pick my legs up more.”

Classmate Leah McClain also turned in personal-best performances, with hers coming in the 100 (sixth, 13.15) and 200 (fifth, 26.64).

The Crimson Tide’s young stars also fared well. Freshman Caitlin Herring cleared 5-0 in the high jump for the first time to take second place behind Walker (5-4). Sabrina McGowen set a personal best en route to a third-place finish in the 200 (2:26.66), while Ruth Teklu matched that placement in the 1,500 (5:09.67).

Other Tide scorers were Madeline Buss (fourth, javelin, 116-9); Cally Kennedy (fifth, shot put, 29-9¼); Marissa Fleskes (fifth, discus, 94-8; sixth, shot put, 29-9); Grace Diller (fifth, long jump, 15-3¾; seventh, 100 hurdles, 17.26); Jessica Debord (sixth, pole vault, 8-0); Lauren Roof (seventh, high jump, 4-8); Chloe Harris (seventh, triple jump, 32-0½); and Glencoe’s long relay of Alexis Lince, Katie Barger, LiAna Curtis and McGowen (fifth, 4:19.80).

Kassie Morrison led Century with a third place in the pole vault, clearing 9-0 for the second time this spring.

“I feel OK about it,” said Morrison, who placed 11th in the Class 6A state meet last year. “I was hoping to go in maybe at 9-6 today, but there are a few corrections that were kind of floating in my head but I didn’t execute them just because of the buzz of the competition.”

Weber added a fourth in the 1,500 (5:12.93) to match her 300 hurdles result, while Micaela Brophy picked up a sixth in the 800 (2:32.00) and an eighth in the 400 (1:03.70). Martyna Adamiec added a sixth place in the high jump (4-10), while Natalie VanDomelen took eighth in the triple jump (31-7¼).

Century is now off until next week, while Hilhi, Glencoe and Liberty are slated to compete today. The Spartans and Falcons will be at the Cotton Invitational in Portland, while Glencoe will attend the Jesuit Twilight Relays in Beaverton.

Note: With her time of 12.28 in the 100 meters, Columbia River’s Miller missed tying the meet record set by Lauren Gruzka in 2000 by a hundredth of a second.



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