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TRACK TEAM QUALIFIES NINE ATHLETES FOR STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN EUGENE

Freshman Tiani Mitani clears the bar in the pole vault at the Far West League district track meet. Mitani cleared a personal best 8 feet 6 inches. (The Pilot/Josh Bronson).
Freshman Tiani Mitani clears the bar in the pole vault at the Far West League district track meet. Mitani cleared a personal best 8 feet 6 inches. (The Pilot/Josh Bronson).

By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

After two days of competition at the Far West League district track meet, nine members of the Brookings-Harbor High School track team will be headed to the OSAA Track State Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene Thursday through Saturday, May 22-24.

The Bruins were crowned district champions in six different events and qualified for the state meet in six others.

"We had an unbelievable day," Coach Paul Angove said. "These kids stuck with it, believed in what we said from the beginning and had phenomenal success. I'm so happy for our kids."

In the team standings, the boys finished tied for third place with Douglas with 96 points, while the girls finished fourth overall with 89 points. North Bend won both the boys and girls team titles

Leading the way for the Bruins was the boys' relay team, which took home a pair of victories in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

The Bruin quartet of seniors Blake Peters and Kyle Botnen, and juniors Kevin Sthen and Linden Loren, ran a PR (personal record) in the 4x100 with a winning time of 44.83.

They also took the win in the 4x400 with a time of 3:33.44.

"All of us have been working really well together and we gel as a unit," Peters said. "We're perfect for each other."

Loren and Botnen also had individual wins at the district championships.

In the 400-meter dash, Loren blew by the competition around the final turn and down the straightaway to win the event with a PR of 51.64.

"We knew Linden was capable of times like that, it was just a matter of time," Angove said.

Peters took second in the 400 with a time of 52.85, also qualifying him for state. But Peters scratched the event for the state meet, giving his spot to third place Dalton Bliss of Siuslaw so he can focus on the two relays at state.

Teammate Sthen also reached the podium with a fourth place finish with a time of 54.16.

In just his fourth race of the year in the 200-meter dash, Botnen took home the victory with a winning time of 23.67.

Botnen will be competing in four events at state, including the pole vault, which he qualified for on the first day of competition by clearing 14 feet.

Also qualifying for state on the boys side was senior Steven Sanders, who ran a PR and took second place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:01.65.

"That's a coach's gamble that paid off," distance coach Terry Axel said. "This is the first year that he has stepped up and trained to his ability and it's a great way for him to go out."

Instead of running Sanders in his normal events – the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs – Axel ran him in just the 800, hoping Sanders would be fresher than the rest of the field – most of whom were running in the 1,500 earlier in the day.

And the move paid off as Sanders visibly had more energy than most of the field and was able to pull away for a second place finish.

"I knew D.J. (Flores) had more speed than me, so I had to pull out ahead to avoid his kick at the end," Sanders said. "That was the hardest I ever ran."

For the girls, senior Tabby Reneman was named the Outstanding Female Thrower of the meet with a first place finish in the discus and a second place finish in the javelin.

"I'm excited for state," Reneman said. "I'm a little disappointed I didn't PR, but I still have that opportunity at state."

Reneman won the discus with a throw of 112-10 and placed second in the javelin with a throw of 114-10.

Last year, Reneman took fifth at the state meet in the discus and fourth in 2006 as a sophomore.

The other Bruin to win a district title was freshman Catherine Bones in the 100-meter hurdles.

Bones ran a blistering 16.48 on her way to victory and a new PR.

"I knew I always had it in me," Bones said. "I just had to tell myself over and over that I could do it and then I did. I'm just really excited for state and I think it will be a great opportunity."

Bones also qualified in the long jump with a second place finish and a jump of 14-11.75.

Fellow hurdler, junior Kayla Hamm, qualified for the state meet by taking second in both the 100 and 300 hurdles.

Hamm finished second to Bones in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.75 and then ran a PR in the 300 hurdles in 50.33.

The other Bruin who will be competing in the state meet will be freshman Ally Manley, who took second in the 3,000 on Friday with a time of 11:05.15.

Manley just missed qualifying in the 1,500 on Saturday, placing third in the event in 5:03.44.

A number of other Bruins made the podium and earned points for the team, but missed out on qualifying for state.

Freshman Geoff Gowman cleared 6-0 in the high jump and finished in third place, just missing the state qualifying mark of 6-1.

Fellow freshman Dylan Roberts took seventh in the high jump at 5-08 and fifth in the 200 at 24.94.

Junior Chris Hodge placed in the 110 and 300 hurdles with a third place finish in the 110 hurdles at 16.17 and fourth in the 300 hurdles at 44.36.

Senior Alec Rosenthal took sixth in the 3,000 with a time of 9:59.72 and freshman Gage Northrup followed in seventh at 10:00.91. Junior Jackson DeHaven took eighth place in the discus with a throw of 106-09.

On the girls side, the 4x100 team of Bones, Hamm, and freshmen Sophia Morris and Tiani Mitani took third place with a time of 53.95.

Mitani set PR's in three events over the course of the weekend, highlighted by a fifth place finish in the pole vault at 8-06 – 2 feet higher than her previous best vault.

She also took eighth place in the 100-meter dash 1t 14.23 and eighth in the 200 at 29.63.

Juarez was fifth in the triple jump with a PR of 30-01, freshman Crystal Pitts was sixth in the high jump at 4-04 and Morris took seventh in the 100 with a time of 13.85.

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