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Historic time – Foxes boys track and field wins first state title

By James Day

Track and field championships are not built on one big explosion. There is no last-second bucket or game-saving tackle. Things happen in bits and pieces. Two points here, four points there. A hero in the early moments of day one might ultimately be the difference-maker.

The Silverton High boys track and field team captured its first Class 5A state title in school history May 20-21 at Hayward Field in Eugene. The Foxes produced 79 team points, ten more than Crater of Central Point and 13 more than Wilsonville.

“There were so many outstanding performances under pressure,” said veteran coach Erik Cross, who has been involved with the program since 1998. “I can’t say enough about how well this team rallied together, supporting each other from start to finish.”

The heroics started early as the Foxes’ deep and talented field event corps rang up 26 points on Friday. Orie Schaffers won the shot put (54-7.5) and took fifth in the discus (135-10) behind champion and teammate Sam Willis, who threw 159-5 to claim gold. Keegan Walter added two more points by finishing seventh in the long jump (20-8.5).

“Beginning the meet with two wins and 24 in those events plus two more points from Keegan Walter in the long jump gave us a lot of energy heading into day two,” Cross said.

Early in day two the boys picked up some more energy – from an inspiring performance by the girls 4×100 relay squad. The foursome of Kyra Bashor, Molly Kuenzi, Sicily Becerra and Kirsten Kuenzi was third in a school-record 50.85, with Kuenzi diving across the finish line at the end of a courageous anchor leg.

The boys foursome of Riley Sinn, Steeley Mucken, Jackson Pfeifer and Austin Ratliff followed with a school record run of 42.85 to place second, and became the first Foxes short relay squad to break 43 seconds.

The heroes kept on coming. Ratliff, a standout wide receiver and defensive back on the Foxes’ state championship football squad in the fall, came out for track for the first time and took third in the 100 (11.04) and the 200 (22.37). But there was Mucken as well, adding four valuable teams points with an 11:14 run in the 100 that earned him fifth.

The high jump was a veritable den of Foxes. Ryan Redman-Brown, Jonathan DuVal and Josef Dettwyler all cleared 6-0, with Redman-Brown and DuVal tying for third and Dettwyler taking sixth.

“I think having three of them out there was a huge advantage,” Cross said. “They’ve been jumping together all season, so there had to be a comfort level with teammates in the event.”

Then came the pole vault, where Joel Rush, third in the district meet with a 12-6 mark, exploded to a 14-6 effort at state, a personal best by 11 inches and good for second place.

“It was an amazing performance,” Cross said.

The Silverton High boys track and field squad is shown after winning the Class 5A title in Eugene.

Ping Koonantha added a 42-11.5 showing in the triple jump to earn 4th, and Silverton closed the scoring barrage with a 7th-place finish by the 4×400 relay squad of Jordan McCarty, Henry Schmitz, Bjorn Domst and Sinn in 3:30.24.

The Foxes’ girls squad scored 13 points to finish 20th. Leah Twede took third in the javelin (128-5), Lilly Horner was 8th in the same event (103-10).

Samantha Griffin, left, and Alexis Ditchen of Silverton are shown after a strong showing at the OHSET state championships in Redmond. The Foxes took home fourth in the team race.

Kennedy track and field: Haley Kline finished second in the 400 (1:02.84), seventh in the 200 (28:03) and anchored the 4×400 relay to eighth in 4:36.49 at the Class 2A meet. The Trojans scored 11 points, good for 23rd. Kylee Rodriguez, Briar Hachenberg and Alyse Williams also ran on the relay.

The Kennedy boys scored nine points and finished 27th. Grant Vogel was third in the 110 hurdles (16:34) and the 4×400 relay team of Dakota Heard, Griffin Kilbourne, Jesus Cortes and Stephan Salinas took sixth in 4:42.41.

Girls Golf: Silverton took second in the OSAA Class 5A tournament at Emerald Valley in Creswell. It was the highest state finish for the program since 1994.

“I thought as a team we did really well,” coach Hank Ulven told Our Town. “I think the first day we had some more mental mistakes more than anything, rushing some putts that were close. But the way the greens played, they were fast and so the break was really emphasized, something we haven’t had to really look at throughout the year especially with wet conditions throughout the year. Greens were slow most of the season for us.”

Wilsonville won the two-day event with 766 strokes, 31 better than the runner-up Foxes. Silverton’s Ellie Traeger finished tied for fifth overall with a 92-97, 189). Anfisa Samoilov was one stroke behind at 94-96, 190), Akelina Cheremnov was 17th with a 95-107, 202, while Paige Traeger turned in a 112-104, 216 to tie for 27th and Kalyssa Efimov was tied for 42nd with
119-119, 238.

Girls Tennis: The Silverton doubles team of Paige Davisson and Lindsey Gardner claimed the consolation title at the state Class 5A tournament by defeating a Redmond duo 6-0, 4-6, 6-3. Teammate Andrea Khieu advanced to the consolation final in singles before falling 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 to a Churchill opponent.

Crescent Valley won both the state and district team titles, but the Foxes dealt the Raiders a dual match defeat on the way to an undefeated league season.

Equestrian: Silverton took fourth in the large school division of the Oregon High School Equestrian Teams state championships held May 12-15 st the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond.

The Foxes scored 240 points, trailing only Oregon City (438), Mountain View of Bend (258) and Canby (240) in the 13-school large division. Top teams and individuals will be moving from state competition to the Pacific Northwest regional event June 16-29 in Moses Lake, Washington.

Samantha Griffin of Silverton advanced to regionals in three events – working rancher, roping and daubing, while advancing in two-man bi-rangle and team sorting with teammate Alexis Ditchen. Morgan Cuff and Sidney King of the Foxes advanced to regionals in team sorting.

Griffin also played second in individual versatility, seventh in timed individual and was joined in the top 10 in team contributor by Ditchen and Cuff.

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