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Track stalwarts – Kennedy takes home two district titles


By James Day

The Oregon School Activities Association moved Kennedy into an unfamiliar district for track and field this season. The Trojans wound up in Special District 1, which featured numerous teams from the northwest corner of the state, including Knappa, Vernonia, Clatskanie and Nestucca.

Kennedy Trojans

“Our athletes made the most of it,” said veteran JFK coach Steve Ritchie after his squad took home both the boys and girls titles May 19-20 at Portland Christian. The girls rang up 138 points, 32 more than runner-up Nestucca, while the boys totaled 119, 39 more than second-place Portland Christian.

Kennedy sent a school-record 19 athletes to this weekend’s Class 2A state meet at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Winning district titles were Tia Allen, who set a new meet record of 123-1 in the discus, boys high hurdler Jeremiah Traeger and the girls 4×100 relay squad of Amber Handran, Alyse Williams, Paityn Garcia and Precious Ifenuk.

Trojans relay units were on their game throughout as the girls 4×400 squad of Ifenuk, Briar Hachenberg,  Williams and Haley Kline took second, as did both boys relays – Jeremiah Traeger, Griffin Kilbourne, Dakota Heard and Javi Rodriguez in the 4×100 and the 4×400 unit of Heard, Kilbourne, Elijah Traeger and Rodriguez.

Silverton, meanwhile, finished second behind Central in the boys team race and sixth in the girls competition at the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet held May 18 and 20 at Memorial Stadium in Albany.

Silverton Foxes

Steeley Mucken led the way for the Foxes boys, winning the 100, the 200, and the long jump and finishing second in the javelin. Silverton sent 11 boys athletes to the state meet May 26-27 after Our Town’s presstime at Hayward Field in Eugene. In addition to Mucken, Silverton qualifiers included JD Arthur (800), Sam Shaffers (shot put), Elijah Willis (javelin), Joseph Dettwyler and Jonathan DuVal (high jump), Joel Rush (pole vault), Jackson Pfeifer (long jump), David Hari (long jump and triple jump), and the 4×100 relay squad of Pfeifer, Lachlan Domst, Hari and Brody Sullivan.

Kirsten Kuenzi matched Mucken by moving on to state in four events. Kuenzi took second in the 100, fourth in the 200, fourth in the long jump and anchored the 4×100 relay squad to fourth. Also on the relay were Sicily Becerra, Lexi Enzenberger and Allie Mansur. Madison Stackpole, meanwhile, advanced by winning the shot put as did high jump runner-up Brooklyn Pfeifer.

Softball: Kennedy and Silverton both took high seeds into their respective softball tournaments. The Trojans, who advanced to the Class 2A semifinals a year ago, are seeded No. 3 and took a 21-3 record into their home matchup May 24 after Our Town’s presstime. Kennedy finished a perfect 20-0 in Special District 2, two games ahead of Blanchet Catholic. 

The Trojans completed a two-game sweep of their series with the Cavaliers with a 6-0 road victory on May 16. Freshman Brianna Traeger homered and finished with 3 runs scored and senior right-hander Jenna Hopkins fired a three-hitter with ten strikeouts for JFK, which had its 20-game win streak stopped May 18 by Class 3A Scio. All three JFK losses have been to 3A squads.

Silverton, seeded No. 5 in Class 5A, tangled with Rex Putnam after Our Town’s presstime. The Foxes advanced by finishing tied for third with Corvallis in the Mid-Willamette Conference at 11-5. Silverton, 17-7 overall, also scored its first win vs. league power Dallas since 2016 with a 2-1 nailbiter on May 15.

Baseball: Kennedy, the defending Class 2A-1A champs, took a 27-0 record and the top state ranking into the playoffs. The Trojans outscored opponents 282-32 and allowed foes just 1.12 runs per game.  Kennedy’s pitching and distance produced 16 shutouts during the regular season. JFK was 15-0 in Special District 2 play, three games ahead of No. 4 St. Paul. The Trojans swept a three-game series with the Buckaroos May 8, 10 and 12, outscoring them 30-10.

Girls Tennis: The Silverton doubles squad of junior Paige Davisson and Lindsey Gardner took fourth in the Class 5A state tournament. Davisson and Gardner, who were third at the district meet, won their first two matches in straight sets before falling to a Crescent Valley team in the semis. A second C.V. duo defeated Davisson and Gardner in the match for third place. The other top Foxes doubles unit, Melia Taylor and Leialoha Taylor, meanwhile, advanced to the quarterfinals before falling. The Foxes finished tied for third as a team.

Girls Golf: Fox junior Ellie Traeger, who finished third in the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet, participated as an individual in the Class 5A state meet, where she finished 22nd with a 101-93–194 at Quail Valley in Banks.

Running: Discover Mount Angel is hosting the Daddy Dash on Father’s Day weekend. Included in the Saturday, June 17, event are a 1-kilometer kids run at 9:30 a.m. and 5K run-walk and 10K runs at 10 a.m. The races start and finish outside the library on East Charles Street. Go to https://tinyurl.com/55dvjjv7 to sign up.

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