Benson's Williams sets two records
EUGENE — Turf toe might have kept Benson High's Micah Williams from winning the Class 6A sprint titles last year. He placed third in the 100 and scratched from the 200.
The ligament sprain flared up again after the Portland Interscholastic League district meet on May 13, and on Friday night, following the 2018 state prelims, Williams wasn't sure if he would run in Saturday's state finals at Hayward Field.
"I talked to my sprint coach, John Mays, and he said, 'At this point, he's going to have to buck up, because there's nothing we can do with that,'" Benson coach Leon McKenzie said. "He can sit in the stands or buck up, and he decided to buck up."
This time, the sophomore used his injury as further motivation to cement himself as the state's fastest prep.
Williams capped a banner season by setting two meet records. He won the 100 meters in a PR of 10.42 seconds, grimacing at the finish. A little later, he took the 200 crown in 21.19.
"It hurt, but I just pushed through," Williams said. "It's just good to start now. To see me improve is great."
Williams' 100 time broke the meet record of 10.48 set in 2011 by Thomas Tyner of Aloha.
The 200 clocking snapped the previous record of 21.20, set the same year at Hayward by Jack Galpin of Crater.
Williams blazed past a game competitor in Tigard senior Braden Lenzy in the 200. The Notre Dame football signee got off the block fast and took an early lead, but Williams kicked into another gear out of the corner. Lenzy finished in 21.57.
"I came around the corner, and there he was," Lenzy said. "I felt like I was standing still. He's too young to be doing this to me."
Williams said compliments like those make him want to work harder. McKenzie, who has coached for 44 years, said Williams' improved maturity comes in part from competing in national meets.
Williams can drop his times even further with work on some specifics, McKenzie said.
"We're going to attack the weight room. His hip flexibility is not very good, but it's improving. He'll probably be in a lab working on his hip flexibility and the technical aspects of his running," McKenzie said.
While Williams' 31.61 total seconds of speed highlighted the 6A individual competition, the two-day meet had plenty of other memorable moments and drama.
Central Catholic was the highest team in the boys' final standings. The Rams tallied 50 points to take third behind West Salem (60) and Tigard (54). Jesuit was fourth with 39, edging out Tualatin by three points for the final trophy.
Benson tied Oregon City for sixth place with 27 points apiece.
Wilson finished 15th with 19 1/2 points, Franklin 17th with 18 1/2, and Grant 19th with 16.
Portland schools began flexing their depth in the 3,000 on Friday. The top five finishers were from either the PIL or Jesuit. Franklin senior Will Eaton out-kicked Wilson senior Alex Slenning to win in 8:31.83, finished in 8:32.42.
"Very slow start," Eaton said of Friday's race. "(Slenning) moved with about three laps to go. I could feel in his stride he was tiring a bit. I moved with about 50 meters to go to make sure he couldn't pass me."
Senior Grant Summers and sophomore Shaw Powell of Jesuit took third and fourth, respectively, in 8:38.28 and 8:39.06 (a PR). Roosevelt's Lammi Kalil and Abdinasir Hussein were fifth and eighth in 8:39.45 and 8:44:06.
Slenning returned the favor in the 1,500 on Saturday, holding off Eaton to win in 3:55.96. Eaton, who is headed to Dartmouth, took second in 3:56.27, his PR.
The University of Washington-bound Slenning was first for most of the 1,500. Eaton pushed on the outside with 250 meters to go. Slenning kicked with 150 meters left and took the inside lane to hold off Eaton.
"I knew I had what it took (in the 3,000), and I knew I had what it took today, and I wasn't going to mess it up again," Slenning said.
Slenning and Eaton are friends off the track.
"I think to some extent, (the 3,000) made me a little bit off in this race," Eaton said after the 1,500. "What are you going to do? He's a great competitor."
Lincoln senior Sawyer Christopher was arguably the city's most impressive field athlete, totaling 17 of his team's 21 points.
Christopher took fifth in the discus with a PR of 156 feet, 10 inches on Friday.
He opened Saturday by claiming sixth in the high jump, matching junior teammate Kai Wilson (fifth) at 6-2.
Despite admitted fatigue, Christopher then became a two-time state champion in the javelin to close the meet. His heave of 199-7 nipped Central Catholic sophomore Joseph Nizich (195-4).
"I wasn't exactly hyped for it, because I had to wake up so early for the high jump and wait (hours) for this," Christopher said. "But my teammates helped me stretch and stay hydrated. It was a good day."
Central Catholic had strong showings in the sprints, relays and field events.
The Rams' 4x100 relay team took third in 42:05. Sophomore Elijah Elliott secured the lead in the final 100 meters but was outdone by Lenzy and runner-up West Salem at the finish line.
Central Catholic went on to win the 4x400 in 3:17:87. Senior William Mundy anchored with the Rams in front. Lenzy overtook the lead with 120 meters remaining, but Mundy cut inside on the straightaway to grab the title.
"There's pressure every time we compete," said Rams relay team member Korbin Williams. "The 'CC' brings it with us. You just have to go out there and run your own race."
Williams, a senior, was third in the 200 (21.71) and 400 (48.28).
Mundy took third in the 300 hurdles (PR 38.02), and Elliott was seventh (39.86).
The Rams got a seventh-place finish in the long jump on Friday from senior Vicenzo Logan. He jumped 21-5 1/2 inches. Cleveland's Sean Neuman was fourth at 22-3.
Senior Moelika Feimoefiafi took eighth for Central Catholic in the shot put at 48-11 1/4 inches.
Jesuit senior Alex Wan placed fourth in the 100 (10.84) and sixth in the 200 (22:11).
Crusaders senior Matthew Eichten was third in the shot (53-4 1/4, a half inch off his personal record.
Jesuit's 4x100 relay claimed seventh in 43.09. Benson, with Williams as the anchor, was fifth (42.54). Grant was sixth (43.01).
Senior Saivon Brown, who anchored the Generals' 4x100, set a PR in the 400 of 48.92, good for sixth place, up two spots from a year ago. Fellow senior Phillip Quinton took third in the 800 in 1:54:47, his best this year. Quinton medaled in the event for the second straight year; he was second in 2017.
Benson senior Jaylen Russell posted eighth-place finishes in both hurdles, with a PR of 15.36 and a 39.92.