Hilhi girls sweep the top three spots in both the 100 and 200 meters at last week's district meet

Topping last year’s district meet success always was going to be a tough proposition for Anna Dean.

After all, the Hilhi sophomore did win three events and take second place in another as a freshman before going on to make the finals in all four events at the Class 6A track and field HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Hillsboro sprinters (from left) Krissy Thomas, Anna Dean and Cassidy Estep race to a sweep of the top three spots in the 100 meters at last week's Pacific Conference district meet.

At last Thursday and Friday’s Pacific Conference district meet at Tualatin, Dean did not quite surpass her 2012 district meet performance.

But she did match it.

Dean repeated as league champion in the 100 meters and 100 hurdles, ran the third leg on the Spartans’ winning 4x100 relay and finished second in the 200, leading Hilhi to a third-place team result and the program’s girls sprinters to a dominating showing.

The Spartans scored 116 points — almost all of them on the track — to wind up just behind Tigard (123) and McMinnville (117½) in the team standings. Newberg was fourth with 83 points, followed by Tualatin (72), Century (66), Glencoe (53) and Forest Grove (28). The top two finishers in each event qualified for this week’s Class 6A track and field state meet at Hayward Field in Eugene.

“Looking back my freshman year and standing up on the podium, I just remember how I felt like I’d proved so much and how I did so well. I didn’t think that I’d ever have that again,” Dean said earlier this week, after she had a couple days to reflect on her district meet performance. “I thought it would just be a one-time thing. And then this year, standing up there again, it was like, ‘Wow, I really am succeeding again this year.’

“I’m trying not to take it for granted. It’s an amazing opportunity for me, and I don’t want to just let it pass by, because I know so many people wish they could be in the same place I am.”

Of the 10 berths available in the sprints and relays to the state meet in Eugene, which starts today, Hillsboro girls won seven. Hilhi was the only team in the meet to sweep the top three spots in an event — and they did it twice, in the 100 and the 200.

In both races, the Spartans sprinters moved together

like white waves down the track, turning back all opponents. In the 100, Dean set a personal-best time of 12.42 seconds, and she needed every hundredth of a second to edge freshman teammate Krissy Thomas, who finished second in 12.43. Senior Cassidy Estep was third in 12.82.

“That was crazy. I was not expecting to run that fast, but I had an incredible start,” Dean recalled. “And then having Krissy there with me — it’s ... crazy how having someone there next to you can really affect your speed. If you really want it, then you’re going to give everything you’ve got.”

A little later in the meet, Thomas and Dean swapped places in an almost equally tight 200 with times of 26.28 and 26.31. Kylee Taube completed the sweep with a mark of 26.82.

Those three, along with Estep, made up the Spartans’ winning short relay in the first running final on Friday. Their time of 48.93 was a season best. Glencoe’s Caprina Crocker, Rosie Hunker, Leah McClain and Cassandra Acosta were second in 49.51.

Sami Moellmer rounded out the Spartans’ individual state qualifiers in the sprints with a second-place effort in the 400. The sophomore finished in 59.41, just behind McMinnville’s Taylor Petersen (59.28).

Moellmer also anchored Hilhi’s runner-up 4x400 relay squad, which included Thomas, Tanya Jones and Taube. The quartet finished in 4:06.10, just behind the Lindsey Rosette-anchored Tigard team (4:05.84).

Dean turned back league rivals Ally Cuddeford of Newberg and Rosette to win the 100 hurdles, her specialty, in 15.03 during a downpour. Cuddeford was second in 15.11, and Rosette was third in 15.13. Together, they occupy the top three seeds in the Class 6A girls state field and will be joined by Century senior Jikuesiah Jones, who was fourth in 15.79 last Friday and earned a wildcard spot to state.

Lauren Lykins also will represent Hilhi at state. She was a surprise runner-up to McMinnville’s Whitney Rich (10:39.65) in last Thursday’s 3,000. Seeded sixth going into the meet, Lykins smashed her former high school best of 11:16.78 with a 10:49.06 mark to earn a chance to run in Eugene this week.

While Century’s Braanna Weber did not win an event at the district meet, she did put on one of the most impressive showings of any athlete there. Competing in a demanding and endurance-taxing 1,500-800-300 hurdles-4x400 quadruple, the sophomore standout placed second in all three of her individual events to qualify for state for the second straight year.

“I knew I had three of ... the hardest events, so I really didn’t expect to go for all three, especially after my (1,500),” said Weber, whose calves were still sore on Sunday evening from her efforts. “I ran a really good race, and it was actually the school record that I got, so after that, it was very tiring. And so I thought that I could maybe go for one more, but I was never expecting two more.”

In the 1,500, she and Tigard’s Megan Franz replicated their 2012 district meet placements, with Franz winning in 4:50.47 to Weber’s 4:52.22. Those two also went 1-2 in the 800 a bit later in the meet, each hauling in Newberg’s McKaelie Wolfe — who set a hot pace early and led for most of the race — down the homestretch. Franz and Weber both set PRs, 2:19.65 and 2:20.04, respectively.

In the 300 hurdles, Weber finished in 46.23, just behind Rosette (46.00) and just ahead of Glencoe’s McClain (46.43). In the 4x400, Weber teamed with Ashley Brown, Micaela Brophy and Kylie Bundy to take fourth place in 4:10.90.

Kassandra Morrison rounds out the Jaguars’ trio of girls state qualifiers. She took fourth in the pole vault with a mark of 9 feet, 7 inches, which was high enough to earn a wildcard bid.

Led by Ryan England and Trebriel Larry, Glencoe turned in the best finish by a Hillsboro boys team at the meet. The Crimson Tide took fifth place with 54 points. Tigard won the meet 142 points, followed by McMinnville (127), Newberg (117) and Tualatin (100). Hilhi was sixth with 46 points, followed by Forest Grove (44) and Century (27).

In the 800, England obliterated the rest of the field on the second lap and won the race by almost four seconds in 1:55.69, which surpassed the meet record of 1:55.85, set by Tualatin’s Jon Titterington in 2002.

“I did the first lap how I wanted to and then kicked when I planned to, and then just came around and the time was there,” England said about his win at the end of the meet. “It felt good. I’m still trying to think about it myself, still trying to think about how I did that.”

The race was a considerable breakthrough for the Tide senior, who had run 1:58 on multiple occasions over the past two seasons but no faster. He was faster in a big way last Friday — his winning time was the fifth-best in Class 6A coming into state. England liked how his district performance set up his chances in Eugene.

“PR, first place, to get the record, this is just awesome. It’s definitely a highlight of my season,” England said. “I guess now I’ve got a better chance of making the finals. So now I gotta look forward to the finals rather than just trying to get through the prelims. I’ve got, hopefully, a chance at top five, maybe top four, hopefully, so we’ll see. Pretty exciting.”

England also is making a repeat trip to state in the 4x400 relay after teaming with Cody Newsom, Josh Melanson and Larry to take second in 3:27.09 behind Newberg (3:26.60).

Before the long relay, Larry qualified for state in two individual events of his own. He finished second in both the 100 and 200 to Tigard’s Cameron Bremner. Larry ran PRs in both races, 11.15 in the 100 to Bremner’s 11.03 and 22.34 in the 200 to Bremner’s 22.19.

“I’m very thrilled for next week ... because this is the first time I’ve been to state on my individual events,” Larry said. “And I’m glad to get a second chance to go with my 4x4 team again.”

Justin Worthy also advanced to state for Glencoe. The Tide sophomore placed second in the shot put with a mark of 45-8½, a personal best by almost 3½ feet. That mark actually tied Tualatin sophomore Garrison Saina’s best throw, but Saina earned the first-place medal based on his next-longest throw.

For Century, junior Hao Pham cleared 12-0 in the pole vault to take second place and qualify for state. Josh Wolf added a third-place result in the javelin (175-8).

Hilhi did not advance any boys to the state meet. Michael Gonzalez and Cricket Browning led the Spartans with third-place efforts in the long jump (20-7¾) and 400 (51.23), respectively. And Spencer Dean was fourth in the 100 (11.22).

Browning, Dean and Gonzalez, along with Adam Morton, also placed fourth in the 4x100 relay (43.89).

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