Vikings turn in several strong performances at their season-opening home meet last week

Any first track and field meet of a season is about shaking off the rust and establishing baselines for the rest of the year.

Those tasks are exactly what the Forest Grove track teams did last Wednesday, when they kicked off the season at home with the Forest Grove Icebreaker, hosting Century, South Salem and Hood River Valley The meet, which was graced by decent weather, gave the Vikings a chance to get their competition legs under them.

“Its main purpose is to let the kids who have never been in a meet kind of get a feel of what it is,” Forest Grove coach Scott McCahon said. “It’s a good time trial for everyone else up against somebody besides ourselves.”

While the meet was nonscoring, the home sides experienced their fair share of success, combining for six wins and 14 runner-up finishes.

While McCahon did not want to single anyone out in such an early-season meet, he was pleased with how his kids performed, especially the freshmen.

“I thought it went overall very, very well,” McCahon said. “The weather held out. We don’t have any injuries. It’s always nice to come out of the first meet without any major injury, but everybody came out healthy. Looks like our training is on schedule, so we’re really, really pleased with the way everything turned out.”

Seth Berdahl and Alyssa Villalobos led the way by picking up two victories each, showing that they are ready to go this spring.

Villalobos earned her wins in the girls 100-meter hurdles (17.05 seconds, a personal best) and the long jump (16 feet, 5½ inches), while Berdahl raced to wins in the boys 1,500 (4:19.47) and the 3,000 (9:17.33). His time in the shorter race was a personal best by almost nine seconds, and he needed almost all of the improvement to best teammate Murimi Nyamu, who finished second in 4:20.41.

Jon Cirlincione added a trio of top-three finishes, including a victory in the triple jump (38-7½). He also took second in the 300 hurdles (45.51) and third in the long jump (19-4½).

Fellow senior Amber Harper also contributed a win, hers coming in the girls discus (93-9).

On the boys side, the Vikings’ lengthy list of second-place finishers included Ricky Torres (200, 24.79), Duncan Stewart (400, 53.80; 800, 2:13.23), Ben Pearson (110 hurdles, 17.99), Tate de Sully (shot put, 41-5; discus, 123-0), and Raymond Byerly (javelin, 138-1).

Rubi Vergara-Grindell posted a fine early-season time of 11:25.29, good for a 15-second personal best, in her runner-up 3,000 finish. Distance teammate Ellie Schnorr posted a runner-up result in the 800 (2:39.53), as did Alyssa Boyd in the javelin (92-9) and the 4x400 relay team of Jessica Bickford, Zoe Crain, Ashlie Collins and Villalobos (4:37.10).

In another notable result, returning state meet placer Shannon Hammond placed third in a competitive high jump with a 5-0 clearance, just an inch below her personal best.

The Vikings are now off until next Wednesday, when they open up their Pacific Conference schedule by hosting a dual meet against Tualatin. Field events start at 3:45 p.m. The first race of the day, the 4x100 relay, goes off at 4.

McCahon enters that meet taking a long-term approach.

“I’m not trying to beat Tualatin,” McCahon said about his teams. “I’m trying to get them ready for our district meet, which is a long way off.”

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