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Track: St. Helens boys beat La Salle, girls fall to Falcons

Up next: Lower Columbia Invite on April 11

JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Braving the downpour, St. Helens' Bryce Bumgardner and La Salle's Parker Cardwell run neck-and-neck during the final leg of the 4x100 meter relay on Wednesday afternoon.They may only be freshman, but young Daniel Lujano and Dakota Camberg are already turning heads for the St. Helens track program. Lujano won the 110 meter hurdles event and took third in the 300 meter hurdles on Wednesday, helping the Lion boys to an 80-64 defeat of La Salle. Camberg was fourth in the 110 hurdles, but won the high jump and took second in the long jump.

And while the strong finishes from Lujano and Camberg are both impressive, their success in comparison to program history becomes much more noteworthy. Camberg ranks among the best freshman high jumpers and long jumpers in the last decade, neck-and-neck with then-freshman Dumitri Malnsai who made state his sophomore season in both jumping events and placed in the long jump his junior year before bowing out early as a senior. Camberg is also one of the best freshman hurdlers, with a mark just behind then-freshman Thomas Hughes.

Lujano isn't as close to the top of the list, but he sits right beside Camberg in both hurdle events. Lujano and Hans Hughes, whose time would have placed him in fourth in the 110 hurdles if he'd competed at the varsity level, both jump into the top-20 for freshman hurdlers in the last 10 years — and very early in their high school careers.

Another relatively young athlete, Myles Terry, topped Camberg in the long jump with a mark of 18-4.5. Terry also took second in the shot put with a new PR of 43 feet, eight inches, and ran a leg of the 4x100 meter relay team, combining with Bryce Bumgardner, Mason Rask and Dylan Brady as runners up by less than half a second.

The Lions also got a solid performance from senior JoNathan Denakis, who took second in the javelin with a near-personal best of 148-6, and took second in the discus competition in spite of throwing 19 feet fewer than in the opening meet with Scappoose.

Junior Nate Funk has also emerged as one of the leaders in the sprints for St. Helens. Though he competed at the junior varsity level in both the 100 and 200 meters against La Salle, his times would have won him both races, putting in a 12.14 in the 100 and a 24.48 in the 200. The 200-meter mark is the sixth-fastest so far amongst NW Oregon Competition.

Brady, part of the 4x100 meter team, won the 400 meters with a time of 55.7 seconds ahead of St. Helens' Cody Haag. Sophomore Richard Sass won the 800 meter race with a time of 2:12.43, and senior Fuller Worman cut over 13 seconds off his time from the opening meet in the 3,000 meters, taking second behind La Salle's Sean Richardson.

The boys 4x400 meter relay team beat out La Salle's top squad by a wide margin, winning with a time of 3:52.22.

Girls Meet

While the boys won their meet with relative comfort, the girls had to wait until the final race for the meet to be decided. La Salle trailed coming into the 4x400 meter relay, but won by just under six seconds to edge St. Helens by a single point, 71-70.

La Salle won nine events to St. Helens' eight, getting a balanced performance and sweeping both relays led by Sarah Minsker.

The Lions, though, had their own handful of standout-sweepers.

Sophomore Maggie Cochran won both horizontal jump events, taking the long jump with a mark of 13-9.5 and the triple jump with a mark of 29-3.5. Cochran was just two inches short of her freshman PR in the long jump.

St. Helens also got a sweep in the hurdles, as junior Gabby Hora managed to cut time in both events and set a pair of personal bests. Hora edged fellow junior Genesis Hansen by just under a half-second in the 100 meter hurdles, finishing in 19.05. St. Helens' Ashley Perry came in second behind Hora in the 300 meter event, as Hora sent in a time of 54.33 seconds.

The St. Helens girls dominated the shot put. Seniors M'Kenzie Brooks, Natalie Finch and McKenna Ridenour took the top three spots, with Brooks breaking 30 feet for the second time in her career for the win. Finch took second in the discus with a mark of 86 feet, six inches.

The middle and long distance races belonged to the Falcons, who won the 400, 800, 1,500 and 3,000 and took the top two spots in three of the four races. St. Helens sophomore Josie Hannah had the best chance to knock off one of La Salle's runners, but fell a quarter of a second short and took second in the 800.

Fellow sophomore Genny Luttrell was well-behind the leaders in the 1,500, but kicked things into high gear late in the race and managed to move into third — just a half-second behind La Salle freshman Amanda Acker for second place. Falcon senior Kate Christoferson put in a solid 5:26.11 for the win.

St. Helens' lone victory in the sprints came from another sophomore. Lillianna Shriver won the 200 with a time of 29.82, just ahead of Ridenour at 30.30. In the high jump, junior Annika Bingaman beat out St. Helens freshman Hannah Brumples by just two inches to win with a mark of four feet, two inches. Angela Willson won the pole vault.

Up next:

St. Helens hosts the Lower Columbia Invitational on Saturday, April 11, which features 23 teams from all six OSAA divisions, including local teams Scappoose, Vernonia, Clatskanie and Rainier. Five of the six Cowapa League teams will be in attendance, but St. Helens will be the only representative from the NW Oregon Conference.

Field events will begin at 12:30 p.m., with track events starting at around 1 p.m.