Banks girls lose team title by a point but still crown five individual champions

The streak is over.

But not for lack of trying.

The Banks girls track and field team’s run of consecutive Cowapa League district meet titles ended at four last week, when the Braves were nipped by Yamhill-Carlton, 163-162. But the Lady Braves still did plenty of damage, crowning five league champions and qualifying a total of seven girls to the Class 4A state meet.

And the Banks boys finished third, advancing five athletes to Eugene’s Hayward Field, site of the state meet on Friday and Saturday.

“We beat them by half a point two of those four years, so I guess turnabout’s fair play,” Banks coach Rob Frank said about Yamhill-Carlton. “But it was tough.”

Still, Banks will take a healthy roster of 12 down to Eugene, thanks to a number of standout performances last Thursday and Friday in Seaside.

Perhaps most impressive among them were those by Kindel Bailey and Ashley Edwards. The duo not only went 1-2 in the girls javelin — as they did in 2012 — but they also threw the two best marks in school history.

“I was just excited to win again, and I just really wanted a PR, because I felt like I had been stuck on a plateau for a long time, and my goal had been the school record and 130,” Bailey said on Monday at practice. “So I just wanted to PR, I didn’t care really what place I came in. I mean, first is a big huge bonus.”

Edwards started the throwing dynamics on her second attempt of the day, when she uncorked a personal best toss of 124 feet, 6 inches, an improvement of more than nine feet over her old standard. The mark also broke the Banks school record of 124-3, set by Erika Atkinson in 2008.

“She went up, threw. Everybody was all excited, everybody was all pumped up,” Bailey recalled of her teammate and friend, who was absent from school on Monday and unavailable for comment. “I got all excited and really happy for her. She didn’t even know she had broke the school record, but later we found out.”

As excited as she was for her friend, the mark also stirred up Bailey’s competitive nature. Throwing immediately after Edwards, she unloaded with a throw of 132-4 — a personal best by more than 13 feet — snatching away the lead and the school record.

“I felt happy for her, so I’m sure she feels happy for me,” Bailey said. “We root each other on. That’s one of the things I love about track.”

That both of his javelin throwers put up such long marks — they rank fourth and seventh overall in Class 4A this season — was not a total surprise to Frank.

“In practice, you could see both those girls are on the verge of corking one out there,” Frank said. “In practice, you’d see them — we let them take a few hard throws at the end of practice — and you’d see them really get some out there. Their technique has been jelling over the last couple weeks, both of them, and so I think it was just a matter of time.”

At the 2012 state meet, Bailey finished 13th and Edwards was 14th. With last year’s experience at Hayward Field under her belt, Bailey is shooting for more this season.

“I know the goal always is to get on the podium, and for me, my goal is to throw 130,” said Bailey, whose event coach, longtime Banks assistant Ken Robinson, is her grandfather.

“I don’t know what (Edwards’) exact goal is, but definitely do better than last year and definitely just use the experience from last year, use not doing so well to help us know ... what to expect and how to do better.”

On the track, Banks qualified just one girl for state in Maddison King, but she was a good one. King, one of two Banks athletes who qualified for state in more than one event, successfully completed the 100-200 double at the district meet. She won the shorter race in 13.08 seconds and took the half-lap event in 26.91.

Other winners included Annie Victor in the discus (110-4) and Amy Hilger in the high jump (5-3). Both girls repeated as district champion in their respective events, and Victor also was second in the shot put (34-11¾). Micaela Shurts was Banks’ other event winner, clearing 9-0 in the pole vault. And Lauren Birr (4-10) took second place in the high jump behind Hilger, qualifying for state for the third consecutive year.

The boys also flexed much of their collective muscle in the field events, sending athletes to state in all three throws.

Thomas Blatner threw 51-0 to win the shot put, while Garrett Markham was second in the javelin (142-5), and Dallin Shurts was the runner-up in the discus (150-4). Lucas Hidalgo provided a winning effort in the pole vault, where his mark of 13-0 was three feet higher than his district performance in 2012, when he finished fourth.

Matthew Borchers rounded out the list of Banks qualifiers. He set a school record in the 800 meters, finishing second in 1:58.12 behind Seaside’s Brett Wilyard (1:56.37), whose 1:53.07 leads Class 4A this year.

Borchers made the state meet in the 3,000 as a sophomore in 2011. His district 800 time was the fourth-fastest in Class 4A this season.

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