St. Helens garnered another trio of representatives in next weekend's state championships from seniors Thomas Hughes and Kylie Reinholdt
After qualifying Jacob Zartman and Kylie Reinholdt for the state championships on day one of the Northwest Oregon Conference district meet, the Lions added to their state-bound contingent on Friday as senior Thomas Hughes swept the hurdles events and will advance to compete at Hayward Field in Eugene on May 23 and 24.
And Hughes didnt just win. He set a new meet record in the 300 meter hurdles, running a new career-best 39.80 and snapping a pair of Lions hold on the mark: Nic Barnes from 2007 and Kendrick Alvarez from 2013.
Headed into the finals of the 300 meter event on Friday, Hughes was the favorite after winning the preliminary with a time of 40.10, but in the 110 meter hurdles, Hughes had an obstacle. Libertys Nick Bonat had set a meet record the previous day of 14.72 and became one of only four runners in Class 5A to break under 15 seconds, something Hughes had never done.
It looked as though the Liberty junior was set for a first place and record-breaking finish, but Hughes got the better of him in the finals. It might not have been a new PR, but it was awful close: Hughes ran the 110 meter hurdles in 15.19, beating Bonat by more than three tenths of a second to grab the NWOCs top-spot.
This will be Hughes second consecutive trip to the state championships in both events, and this season marks the third year in a row in which Hughes ran his best time of the season in the 300 at the conference championships. He set a current personal record in 2013 with a 40.04 in the 300 meter rendition for a second place finish, and last year won the 110 meter hurdles with a new PR of 15.42.
Hughes wasnt the only St. Helens athlete to come away with highlights on the final day of the district meet. Reinholdt, who had taken second in the long jump and high jump on the previous afternoon, continued her unbelievable four-year run of state championship appearances in the triple jump, and did it in style.
Reinholdts triple jump numbers had begun to round into form in the weeks leading up to the district finals, jumping a 36-2.75 at the Liberty Invitational on May 7. At the time, it was a new personal and school record, but Reinhold had another leap hidden in her back pocket for the last league meet of her high school career.
Looking to take aim at her first state title, Reinholdt set a new school, personal and NWOC district meet record of 36-4, winning the event by nearly a foot and a half. Its the second-furthest jump among Class 5A girls this season, trailing only Miranda Brown of Summit, who put up a 37-1 in the finals of the 5A Special District 1 qualifying meet.
Reinholdt was the lone state-qualifier for the Lion girls, who saw only one other athlete come close to seeing the state competition. Freshman Josie Hannah, who has been a bright spot for the St. Helens middle distance crew this season, set a new career mark in the 800, but finished fourth at the NWOC championships.
The Lions also had a number of boys make the finals, but finish just outside of the top two qualifying spots for the state championships.
Senior Tanner Long had one of his best performances in his career in the 100 meters and made the finals, took eighth overall with a time of 11.85.
Senior Bryan Strang also came close to a pair of state berths. He led a pack of runners in Thursdays 1500 meter run, but was well outdistanced by the leaders and took third, and took fourth in the 3000 meter race.
12 Kylie Reinholdt; Triple Jump champion, High Jump 2nd, Long Jump 2nd
12 Jacob Zartman; Shot Put 2nd
12 Thomas Hughes; 110 Hurdles champion, 300 Hurdles champion
St. Helens 79.5
St. Helens 47