The Pioneers bag their fifth straight district team title in boys track and field

CANBY — Last Friday was a big day for Oregon City High School’s boys track and field program. Through depth and determination, the Pioneers captured their fifth straight Three Rivers League boys district team title, just a little over a week after they had gone undefeated in league dual meets for a fifth consecutive season.

“Our fifth straight title at district and our fifth straight title in dual meets,” said Oregon City coach Adam Thygeson. “Each year we graduate some really good seniors and think that our streak might end. But each year we have some young kids who step up and we get it done. It’s been the goal of this year’s seniors all year, and they’ve set the example, with their leadership and hard work. Five in a row is a huge accomplishment, and I’m very proud of them.”

“This is my third year in track and I’m so excited!” said Oregon City senior Easton Christensen. “I’ve never been first in a big event like this before, and it’s awesome! I hope that next year’s team can keep the streak going.”

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Easton Christensen won the javelin with a personal best throw of 190.“It’s been an amazing four years,” said Oregon City senior Alex Canchola. “I’ve never lost a dual meet or district meet in my career. It’s amazing to be part of this legacy as a senior. And I think we’ve set everyone up to continue the run in the Mt. Hood Conference next year.”

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Alex Canchola qualified for state in the javelin.Christensen and Canchola are among six Oregon City boys who qualified for state through their performances at last weekend’s district meet. But it took more than those six for the Pioneers to capture the team crown. Oregon City had athletes place in every event at the district meet and they had at least two athletes place in five of the field events.

State qualifiers for Oregon City boys included: seniors Easton Christensen in the javelin, Alex Canchola in the javelin and long jump, Josh Miller in the discus and Kyle Anderson in the pole vault. Oregon City junior Austin DeWitz qualified in the high jump and Jake Harthun, a freshman, qualified in the 400-meter dash.

One of the high points of the meet came in the boys 400-meter dash, where Harthun outclassed a field of older athletes.

“Jake blew away the entire field,” said Thygeson. “He led the entire race. Very impressive.”

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City freshman Jake Harthun won the 400-meter dash.Harthun was clocked at 49.70 and he crossed the finish line more than half a second in front of the runner-up, Grant junior Brandon Brown.

Harthun’s time bettered his own school freshman class 400-meter record by a second and it put him within reach of Oregon City’s school record, which is held by Jacob Hayden (49.58 in 2006).

“Our school record is 49.58 and that’s what I really want to get at state,” said Harthun.

Harthun, who also hold’s Oregon City’s freshman class record for the 200 and has the second fastest freshman time for the 100, added, “I want to thank my family and friends and coaches. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. A special shout-out to Chris Svendsen. He’s a family friend and he helped me train in the offseason. He’s my mentor.”

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Al Lacey was tough in the distance race at the 2014 Three Rivers League district track and field meet“I’m not surprised [Harthun won district in the 400],” said Oregon City sprint coach Wayne Harris. “He runs the 400 in practice every day just like he did in the final. He runs hard, and he pukes at the end of every practice....

“Before he’s done [with high school track], I could see him running in the high 47’s.”

The Pioneers where tough in the boys javelin, where Christensen (190-0) and Canchola (165-3) went one-two respectively to qualify for state, and Oregon City junior Tristan Birge (156-0) placed third.

Canchola also earned a wild card berth at state with a personal-record leap of 21-5 for third place in the long jump.

Anderson cleared a personal best of 13-7 to take second place in the pole vault and Miller launched the discus 138-6 for second place in that event.

DeWitz took care of business in the high jump, where he cleared 6-4 and beat out Lake Oswego senior Mason Collett, who also cleared 6-4, but had more misses.

Thygeson praised senior Al Lacey for two “absolutely incredible runs” in the distances.

Lacey placed third in the 1,500 with a time of 4:05.29, and he placed third in the 3,000 with a 8:59.85 clocking. His time for the 1,500 was a lifetime best by seven seconds and his time for the 3,000 was a lifetime best by six seconds.

The Pioneers got a class record from sophomore Trevon Bradford, who ran the 200-meter dash in 11.08 in his preliminary heat. Bradford went on to place sixth in 11.22 in a very fast-paced 100-meter final. His preliminary time puts Bradford third on Oregon City’s all-time list for the 100 meters.

Oregon City had a near state-qualifier in the shot put, where junior Tyler Dent placed third with an effort of 42-0-1/2. Dent also just missed out in the discus, where he also placed third, with a toss of 133-0.

DeWitz placed third in the triple jump, with an effort of 41-2.

Oregon City senior K.C. Lopez cleared 12-7 and placed fourth in the pole vault.

Thygeson was named TRL boys “Coach of the Year” for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

“It’s not a coach of the year award,” said Thygeson. “It’s a coaching staff of the year award. I’ve got a great coaching staff. They make my job that much easier.”

The Pioneers won the district meet handily, topping the runner-up boys team from Lakeridge by over 25 points.

District meet boys teams scores were: Oregon City 128.5, Lakeridge 103, Canby 95, Clackamas 85, Grant 84, Lake Oswego 80 and West Linn 79-1/2.

Sprinters shine

for Oregon City girls

Oregon City girls continued to prove themselves among the fastest runners in the state, as they excelled in the sprints at last week’s Three Rivers League District Meet.

Oregon City seniors Becca Houk and Karrin Shriner wrapped up phenomenal regular seasons in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay, qualifying for state and setting personal-record times in all three events.

Houk won the 100 and 200 with finals times of 12.35 and 25.16. She broke her own school records with times of 12.12 and 24.91 in the district-meet preliminaries.

Her times rank her first in the state in the 200 and second in the 100.

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Becca Houk (left) and Karrin Shriner excelled in the sprints at last weeks Three Rivers League District Meet, advancing to state in the 100, 200 and in the sprint relay. The two senior talents rank one-two on Oregon City High Schools list of all-time best female sprinters.Shriner placed a close second to Houk in the 100 (12.44), and she placed third in the 200 (25.46). Shriner’s finals time in the 200 was a personal best and it was fast enough to gain Shriner a wild card berth at state in that event. She turned in a career-best time of 12.23 in the district-meet 100-meter preliminaries.

Shriner is No. 2 — trailing only Houk — on Oregon City’s list of all-time fastest female 100- and 200-meter runners.

Houk and Shriner teamed up with freshmen N’Dea Flye and Maddy Griffith to set a new school record with a time of 48.66, good for second place in the 4x100-meter relay. They beat a record (48.94) that had stood since 1992.

Dye also gained some attention in the 400-meter dash, blowing away her competition with a 59.45 clocking. She finished nearly a second in front of the second-place finisher.

“I didn’t like [the 400] at first,” said Dye. “But now I love it so much.”

Dye said that her grandmother, Joyce Embers, has a lot to do with her success in athletics.

“She makes sure I’m up,” said Dye. “She gets me up at 5 a.m. every morning [to practice] basketball and track.”

Dye said that after practicing basketball a couple of hours in the morning, she does a sprint workout and practices relay handoffs with her teammates.

Houk, who placed third at state in both the 100 and 200 a year ago, said of her prospects at this year’s state meet, “I’m excited! I feel like my body is ready. I’ve trained hard, and I know what it’s like [competing at state] after last year. I’m confident and ready to bring home a state championship.”

Houk noted that she’s worked with a personal trainer twice a week since November and she took a weight training class at the high school during fall and winter semesters.

Oregon City girls had two other state qualifiers at district. Sophomore Taylor Shaw qualified with a runner-up finish in the shot put (32-6), and sophomore Jenna Hoiland earned a wild card berth with a mark of 35-9, good for third place in the triple jump.

Hoiland’s mark in the girls triple jump moves her up to No. 2 all-time at Oregon City in the event.

Shaw says her qualifying for state in the shot put was totally unexpected.

“I just started [practicing the shot put] in the middle of the season,” she said. “So it was a shock that I made it. I don’t even do a glide or anything. I just stand there and throw.”

Shaw’s mark in the shot put was a personal record and she also placed fourth in the javelin, with a personal-record toss of 110-10.

Oregon City girls scored 113-2/3 points and finished third in the district-meet team scoring, not far back of Grant (127) and Lakeridge (124-1/2).

Grant’s team victory ended a five-year streak of district-meet championships for Lakeridge girls.

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