Wildcats earn championship titles, break records

Alex Jensen, Sports Editor

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The Wildcats broke records, defended titles and earned top honors at the Northwest Conference Championships over the weekend at Linfield.

Senior Kaelia Neal broke through the women’s 800-meter line first in 2 minutes, 15.86 seconds. Senior Jaime Rodden came in behind her in sixth place with 2:20.56 minutes.

Neal broke a 20-year-old school record in the 1500m coming in second with 4:33.35.

Junior Courtney Beard was right on her heels, coming in seconds later with a time of 4:37.45. Freshman Nicole Bissey followed in seventh place in 4:53.38.

Linfield claimed the top three in the women’s pole vault. Junior Olivia McDaniel defended her title with a mark of 12 feet 2 ½ inches. Junior Joanna Galli and freshman Meg Angier followed with matching 10 feet, 10 ¼ inches vaults.

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to win conference again this year and being able to stand up on the podium alongside both of my teammates, Joanna Galli and Meg Angier, was by far the best,” McDaniel said.

“I felt a lot more pressure leading up to the meet as the returning champion. But thanks to my coach Dayson Tioganco, I was able to stay mentally strong by focusing on each individual jump and not the end results.”

Junior Mehana Sabado-Halpern led the ‘Cats in the women’s long jump having a top mark of 18 feet, 6 inches and achieved a lifetime best leap. Junior Maddie Shirley followed in fourth with 17 feet, 9 ¾ inches.

“I couldn’t be more happy about my mark and I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for supporting me this entire season. I’m looking forward to training hard in the next few weeks so I can hopefully qualify for nationals,” Sabado-Halpern said. She also took third in the triple jump with 37 feet 5 ¼ inches.

The Wildcats took second and third in the women’s 5000m. Beard led, coming in 17:40.2, and senior Emma Knudson came in seconds later. On Friday, Knudson earned secondary honors in the 10k with 37:50.82.

Junior Kycie Richwine grabbed second place in the women’s 100m hurdles in 15.4 seconds. Sophomore Baylie Cameron took third in the 400m hurdles in 1:05.63 minutes.

Senior Kailey Wright earned secondary honors in the women’s hammer with a throw of 145 feet, 1 inch. Sophomore Dana Brooks took a matching second place but in the javelin, throwing 134 feet, 9 inches.

Men’s hurdler senior Taylor Vicknair grabbed third in the 110m with 15.18 seconds and fourth in the 400m in 57.56.

The Wildcats women’s 4×100 relay team claimed fourth in 49.81 seconds.

The team was Shirley, Sabado-Halpern, freshman Kristen Burke and freshman Desirae DesRosiers.

Sophomore Keaton Wood placed fourth in the men’s long jump with 22 feet, 1 ½ inches and fifth in the javelin. Sophomore MaKenzie Mize took fifth in the women’s discus with 118 feet, 4 inches.

Senior Jeff Lieder claimed fourth place in the men’s shot-put throwing 46 feet, 11 ¾ inches. The men’s 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams earned matching fifth place finishes. Senior Jeff Lee took seventh in the men’s 10k with 33:34.61.

With the conference meet complete, some find the season over but others turn their attention to securing additional national qualifying marks.

A small squadron is set to compete at the Pacific Luau Meet on Friday and Saturday in Forest Grove.