Jacob Zartman finishes second in the shot put, and fellow senior Kylie Reinholdt qualifies for state with second place finishes in the high jump and long jump
SANDY - With the first day of the Northwest Oregon Conference track and field championships in the books, the Lions already have a pair of athletes headed to the state finals in three different events.
Senior Kylie Reinholdt will represent St. Helens in the high jump and long jump after finishing second in both events, the former of which by a hair's bredth. Reinholdt beat out junior Rebekah Mather of Sandy in a jump-off to decide second place, finishing just an inch better to qualify for the state championships.
In the long jump, Reinholdt held a lead before Milwaukie's Tieara Norman – the second-best jumper in Class 5A – topped her on Norman's last jump to set a winning mark of 17-0.5. Reinholdt had one final try for first place, which would have taken a near personal record, but managed 16-9.5, the second-best mark in her high school career.
The Lions will also see senior Jacob Zartman advance to the state championships next weekend in Eugene after Zartman threw 49 feet, 2.25 inches for second place in the shot put. Like Reinholdt, Zartman held a lead late in the competition, but was passed at the last second by Jon Horn of Liberty, who threw 50-8.25 for the third-best mark in 5A competition this season.
Zartman finished less than a foot out of second place in the discus, despite throwing a career-best 142-3, a PR by more than 14 feet.
Senior Chris Gray narrowly missed the state championships in the pole vault, coming in six inches behind second place Griffin Johnson of Milwaukie, who tied Gray's career-best mark of 13 feet to qualify for state. Kaden Walker put on a show for his home Sandy fans, jumping 13-9 for the win.
The boys' 3,000 meter run, in which Lion senior Bryan Strang finished less than two tenths of a second out of third place, was focused entirely on the top two runners. Isaac Mitchell of Sandy and Michael Francy of Liberty, both seniors, were locked in a battle from the moment the gun signaled the start of the race. Mitchell led for the first several laps, but couldn't manage to get any distance. With a lap and a half to go, Francy made his move, passing Mitchell on the back stretch and going for gold.
But Mitchell, who held the conference's top times in the 3,000, 1,500 and 800 meter races headed into this year's championships, had something left in the tank. Plenty, actually.
On the final lap, Mitchell blasted back into first, outdistancing Francy and winning with ease, setting a new PR of 8:48.01 and posting the fourth-fastest time in 5A this season.
St. Helens has a number of athletes poised to make noise in tomorrow's finals. Senior Thomas Hughes came near a career-best time in the 110 meter hurdles, running a 15.32 for second place. It would take a miracle time to surpase Liberty's Nick Bonat, whose 14.72 is the eighth fastest time in the state at any level, but if Hughes keeps on his current tear, he'll be difficult to beat.
Hughes will also have an excellent chance to advance in the 300 meter hurdles as well, after dominating his heat and winning by a full 15 yards.
The meet hasn't run the triple jump, in which Reinholdt is expected to battle Liberty's Elizabeth Pecsok and Mikala Otto of Sherwood for first place.
Finals in the sprints, hurdles, 800, boys' high jump, girls' pole vault and triple jump for both boys and girls will be held on Friday afternoon.
Through day one:
12 Kylie Reinholdt; high jump 2nd, long jump 2nd
12 Jacob Zartman; shot put 2nd
St. Helens 33
St. Helens 20