Hornets bring home four track medals

Brent Baker / staff photo — Oroville's Callie Barker made several clutch jumps to finish second in pole vault at the state 2B finals on Friday.

Brent Baker / staff photo — Oroville’s Callie Barker made several clutch jumps to finish second in pole vault at the state 2B finals on Friday.

CHENEY – Oroville’s track and field teams brought home a quartet of medals, including two state runner-up finishes, to highlight the Hornets’ state 2B finals meet experience Friday and Saturday, May 25-26.

Callie Barker repeated as state runner-up in the pole vault, and Sierra Speiker earned a fourth place finish in the 3200 and was sixth in the 1600 as the Oroville girls finished 14th in team scoring.

“I was excited for all of our athletes that made it to state and for those that placed,” said Oroville coach Harold Jensen. “State was one of the most competitive in the last 10 years. What placed in times, heights and distance last year in some events were out of the placings this year.”

Barker set a personal best (PR) with a vault of 9-6, twice coming through on her third attempt after knocking the bar down on her first two tries. She tied Michaela Huber and Lauren Friese, both of Willapa Valley, but was second of the three by virtue of the number of total misses throughout the competition.

“I didn’t have that great a season,” Barker said. “Other than hitting 9-0 once, it seemed like I was at 8-6 all season, and then only went 8-0 at districts.

“I just came in wanting to relax, have fun, and not worry about it.

“I wasn’t planning on waiting ’til the third jumps all the time. I was like, ‘I just have to make it.’”

Barker also tied the school record and had by far her season’s best performance despite winds that were gusting hard enough to blow the bar off the standards at times, forcing the competitors to wait on several occasions just as they were ready to go.

“The wind was a little disruptive, but just a little,” she said. “I’m very happy with this.”

Speiker ran the 800, 1600 and 3200, grabbing medals in the latter two.

“I was hoping for two medals,” she said after the 1600, in which she set a PR by three seconds (5:28.2) while finishing fourth. “I wish I pushed myself a little more, in the second lap. Next year, though, will be better.”

She was less happy about her 3200 and 800.

“I ran a bad 3200 (12:02.29, 6th place) yesterday,” she said. “The 800 was definitely not what I was looking for (10th, in her preliminary heat, 2:36.84), but really I was just happy to get to state in that.”

Colfax’s Morgan Willson won both the 1600 and 3200.

More than next track season, though, Speiker is looking forward to cross country, as she has one state title and one second place finish in her two seasons.

“I definitely love cross country,” Speiker said. “I hate running in circles.”

Of the other girls that competed, Kaitlyn Grunst came the closest to bringing home a medal, finishing ninth in the high jump (4-10), tying Ocosta’s Emily King but losing out on total number of misses. Madelyn McGee of Bear Creek tied a meet record in winning the event at 5-9. There was a four-way tie for second place, and just two inches separated second through 11th places in the event.

Breanna Ervin finished 10th in the pole vault (7-0), while Brittany Jewett was 15th in the javelin (88-5).

PeEll won the team state title. The Hornets (14th place) ran up the second-highest score for the CWL’s northern sub-division, behind Lake Roosevelt, which finished ninth. Kim Barry scored all of the Raiders’ points with a remarkable performance in the four longest running events, taking fourth in the 3200, third in the 1600, second in the 400 and first in the 800. The victory in the 800 came on a photo-finish in her sixth and final race (including prelims) in the two day meet.

Mathews’ school record performance provided the Hornet boys with their biggest highlight of the weekend. Despite scratching on two of his three first-round jumps in the triple jump, his one good jump – 42-10.5 — stood up as the second best jump of the day.

Jamall James of LaConner won with a leap of 45-6.5.

“After that one kid hit 45 (feet), the rest of us on the bench just laughed,” Mathews said. “We knew then we were going for second.”

Mathews said he’d been hoping to hit 43 feet, but had trouble with his footwork a couple of his opening jumps.

“I went off on the wrong foot on one,” he said. “My steps were a bit off in the prelims, and by the finals I was pretty gassed.

“Second in state is all right. But I really was hoping to hit 43.”

Mathews had been the fourth seed going into the state meet, and beat his PR by half an inch.

The other Hornet to set a personal best was Tanner Smith, who ran to a 12th place finish in the 200 (23.82).

Zack Speiker finished ninth in the 3200 (10:36.64), while Caleb Haney was 11th in the discus (123-9).

Mathews’ points were enough to earn Oroville a 23rd place finish, tied with Liberty Bell for the CWL North Sub-section’s top score of the day. Riverside Christian won the team title.

“We can’t wait until next year to see how we mature, grow and progress,” Jensen said.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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