In what has become tradition, Hillsboro's high schools compete in the early-season Hillsboro Relays

The afternoon was cold, cloudy and breezy, but at least it did not HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Liberty's Michael Francy (right) hands off to Austin Finster during the distance medley relay at last Thursday's Hillsboro Relays at Liberty High School. The Falcons won the event.

In definite early spring conditions, the four Hillsboro high school track and field programs squared off against one another in the Hillsboro Relays, staged last Thursday at Liberty High School.

The meet offered the chance for runners, jumpers and throwers to test themselves in the still nascent season but also to participate in some non-standard events.

“It’s fun and it’s different,” Liberty coach Perry Beeler said about the Hillsboro Relays. “We do dual meets — same events, every time. We do invitationals — same events, varsity only. So this gives a chance for kids to get involved in things that they don’t normally get involved in, and it’s a lot more fun.

“You get more of that team spirit … and you get to run a bunch of different things you don’t always run.”

The meet included the standard 4x100-meter relay and also events more rarely run in Oregon, such as the sprint medley relay (legs of 100, 100, 200 and 400 meters), distance medley relay (legs of 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters) and 4x200-meter relay.

Even the field events were scored as relays, with the marks of the three varsity competitors per school in each event added up to determine final rankings.

Though the meet was not as results-focused as some, team scores were kept and Liberty emerged as the winner on the boys side with 39 points, followed by Hillsboro (26), Century (19) and Glencoe (15). Century squeaked out the victory on the girls side, scoring 29 points, one better than Liberty. Glencoe and Hilhi finished with 21 points apiece.

On the boys side, the Falcons’ quartet of Nick Bonat, Spencer Brown, Sheldon Pittman and Josh Cole won the sprint medley relay in 1 minute, 42.83 seconds. For Cole, the meet was a chance to test himself against some new competition. A junior transfer from Valley Catholic, Cole finished fifth in the 400 at the Class 3A state meet a year ago and ran a leg on the Valiants’ fourth-place long relay.

At the relays meet, Cole was passed by Hilhi’s anchor leg on the backstretch before storming back during the final turn to take the lead for good.

“Going in on that, I was a little intimidated. I raced him at the first meet at Hare Field and I saw what he could do,” Cole said, referring to the Hilhi/Liberty Ice Breaker meet at Hare Field on March 13. “So I thought I might as well just go for it, see if I could come away with the win, and it was good.”

Other top finishers for Liberty included Bonat (110-meter hurdles, 16.39 seconds), the distance medley relay team of Michael Francy, Austin Finster, James Marshall and Dominick Marshall (11:25.03), Jon Horn in the shot put (43 feet, 6 inches), and Phillip Opager, who cleared 6-1 in the high jump.

Liberty girls winners were Hannah Langbehn, Ashley Martin, MacKenzie Beeler and Shay Serres in the short relay (52.24), Serres, Langbehn, Beeler and Sarah Martinez in the 4x200 relay (1:53.77), the distance medley team of Isabelle Cisco, Martinez, Megan Rose and Rachel Khaw (13:46.03), Simone Wilson in the javelin (99-3), Beeler in the long jump (15-5¼) and Elizabeth Pecsok in the high jump (4-8).

The Century girls showed off their speed in winning the sprint medley relay. After legs by Ashley Brown and Brittany McCormick, anchor Braana Weber took the baton from Kylie Bundy and powered away from her competitors on the 400-meter leg to win in 1:58.33.

Weber set the school record in the 800 and ran what was then the fastest time in the state when she ran 2:20.5 on March 16 at the Aloha Preview Frosh/Sophomore Invitational.

Even though Weber is a sophomore, this year’s Hillsboro Relays was her first, she said.

“I like them, I wish they were at normal meets,” Weber said of the non-standard relays, adding that the sprint medley relay’s legs of different lengths suited the “strong suits” of her team.

Jikuesiah Jones won the 100 hurdles for the Jaguars in 17.09, and Chelsea Ronek posted the top mark in the shot (32-0). Among Jaguar boys, Sheridan Olds went 122-10 for the best mark in the discus, and Josh Wise jumped 19-5 to top the long jump field.

In the final event of the day, the boys 4x200 relay, Glencoe was perhaps an unlikely winner. The quartet of Anthony Lambert, Joel Biamont, Tom Ward and Matthew Johnston had been scheduled to run in the junior varsity race but was bumped up to varsity after the Crimson Tide’s original varsity entry was scratched. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Century's Jikuesiah Jones races to victory in the girls 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.09 seconds.

No matter, as Johnston, running last, finished well clear of the runner-up Hilhi squad to win the event in 1:40.22.

“We still killed it,” Johnston said, not long after finishing. “So that was one of my all-time best memories, probably.”

Brian Gerig, Mason Rouches, Miles Rouches and Jack Samuelson won the boys 4x800 relay for the Tide in 9:20.29.

For Hilhi, Adam Morton, Michael Gaskell, Michael Gonzalez and Jackson Wilson prevailed in the tightest race of the day, the 4x100 relay. The Spartans won in 47.06, in an event in which the four teams finished within 0.22 of one another.

Tylar Deveraux-Stevens won the javelin with a throw of 154-0. Lauren Lykins, Marley Dizney Swanson, Bethany Fry and Shelley Fry provided the Spartans girls with a victory on the track in the 4x800 relay (12:05.40), while Mikayla Webb threw 84-7 for the longest mark in the discus.

After taking spring break off from competition, all four teams are back in action this coming Wednesday — Hillsboro hosts Century at Hare Field, Glencoe hosts Tigard, and Liberty entertains Putnam.

By then, the calendar will have turned the page from March to April. Perhaps the weather will be better than it was at the Hillsboro Relays. Though good weather is not nearly so memorable.

“It’s always cold, sometimes it’s raining,” Johnston said about the Hillsboro Relays. “Last year it snowed the morning of. It’s a cold meet, but this is one of my favorites because we always get to show Hillsboro how good Glencoe is.

“I really like that, because we always represent real well.”

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