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Originally Published The Nugget News May 17, 2016
Author Charlie Kanzig

The Sisters Outlaws girls track and field team won its second consecutive Sky-Em District team title, while the boys team placed a strong third in the two-day meet that concluded Saturday, May 14, at Cottage Grove High School.

The first day of competition on Thursday, May 12, saw temperatures in the low 80s, which challenged some athletes, most notably the 3,000-meter runners who competed in the only running final of the day. The heat did not stop T.J. Hooks and Jadon Bachtold from finishing 1-2 and qualifying for the state meet in the process.

The Outlaws shared the burden of setting a steady, honest pace despite the heat, and eventually wore down the rest of the field. Hooks crossed in 9:37.03 and Bachtold in 9:38.23. Jordan Pollard scored in fifth place in 9:52.31.
The girls race went out very slowly, but Breanna Wright of Cottage Grove finally put the pedal to the metal midway to string the field out. Sophie Borders finished fourth (12:10.64) and Megan Calarco eighth (12:36.4) to score for the Outlaws. Zidane Galant-LaPorte finished ninth in 12:44.40.

Other top performances of day one included Julianne Meeter’s win in the javelin with a toss of 114 feet 8 inches, which was the first of seven first-place finishes for the Outlaws girls at the meet. Erynn Ricker won the long jump with a leap of 15 feet 10.25 inches and Kendra Sitz placed sixth at 14 feet 3.75 inches.

Nina Horner picked up a pair of fifth-place finishes in the shot put (31 feet 4.75 inches) and the high jump (4 feet 10 inches) respectively.

Thursday also included some drama and eventual heartbreak for Dyut Fetrow, who improved 16 inches in the pole vault to tie for second at 12 feet 4 inches only to lose in a jump-off to determine the qualifier for the state meet. Sam Lewis finished fourth in the vault at 11 feet 6 inches and Colton Mannhalter also picked up a fourth with his mark of 19 feet 11.25 inches.

Rory Petterson finished his career with an all-time best of 111 feet 2 inches to place eighth in the discus.

Both teams sat in second place after the first day of competition, but the girls team started strongly on a cool and rainy Saturday morning and never looked back.

Erynn Ricker won the pole vault (9 feet 6 inches) and Tessa O’Hern also qualified for state in second at 9 feet. Amy Hills picked up two points for her seventh-place finish at 7 feet. Michaela Miller finished second in the triple jump at 32 feet 2 inches to qualify, and Betsy Ausman added three points in sixth place at 28 feet 9.5 inches. Ausman scored in the discus as well in eighth place with a toss of 80 feet 10 inches.

Once the running events started there was no stopping the Outlaws as they amassed points by scoring solidly in every event contested.

The 400-meter relay team of Sabrina Reifschneider, Erynn Ricker, Michaela Miller and Mandi Calavan raced to a blowout win with a time of 50.82 seconds, securing a place in the fast heat at next week’s state meet. Ricker returned 30 minutes later to win the 100 meters in 12.83, followed by Mandi Calavan in third at 13.04, just .04 seconds out of second.

Tate Ricker (5:25.69) and Sophie Borders (5:27.10 both scored in the 1,500 in fourth and sixth place respectively. Three more Outlaws scored in the 400, led by Macadia Calavan in third (1:01.6), which was a career best. Rylee Weber (1:05.03) and Alexa Stewart (1:06.5) picked up points in sixth and seventh places.

The points really began to pile up with the 100-meter hurdles as Sabrina Reifschneider ran a career- best in holding off teammate Michaela Miller 16.13 to 16.55 as both girls qualified for state. Kendra Sitz picked up sixth place in 17.38.

A trio of freshman Outlaws scored in the 800 meters as Tate Ricker placed fourth in 2:38.74, followed by Alexa Stewart (2:38.90) and Amy Hills (2:39.74)

Mandi Calavan placed third in the 200 (27.55) and then the hurdlers returned to dominate once again as Reifschneider (48.31), Miller (48.43), and Sitz (51.27) went 1-2-5 in the 300 hurdles.

In the final running event, the 4x400-meter relay, Sisters led from start to finish behind the efforts of Reifschneider, Mandi Calavan, Weber and Macadia Calavan in a season best of 4:13.38.

The girls won the meet with 185 points. Cottage Grove finished second (155.5), followed by Junction City (96), Sweet Home (92.5), Elmira (88) and Sutherlin (34).

“The girls took care of business in defending the title, and they did it by scoring all over the place,” said head Coach Jeff Larson. “You don’t win the meet by just having the top placers, you need those thirds, fourths, fifths and sixths to be the champions.”

The boys team also had plenty to cheer about, with some state qualifiers along with some close calls.

Jadon Bachtold was the first Outlaw boy to qualify for state on Saturday with a narrow win in the 1,500 in 4:14.0. T.J. Hooks placed seventh in 4:24.87.

Fellow senior Izaak Kanzig, who qualified for state in the 800 meters as a freshman before spending the next two years in South Korea, nearly achieved his dream of returning to state, but fell just short in third place with a personal best of 2:02.46.

Junior Sam Garbrecht nearly qualified by time in a very fast 100-meter race, missing the mark by just .06 seconds in 11.43. All five of the finishers ahead of him qualified for state in an unprecedented show of speed in the league.

Garbrecht placed fourth in the 200 (23.56), just ahead of teammate Cody Martin (24.12).

Colton Mannhalter picked up third place in the 400 meters (52.16), while Jordan Pollard was sixth in 54.61.

Senior Seth Larson capped his career with a best of 145 feet 6 inches to place fourth in the javelin and Sam Lewis picked up points with a mark of 5 feet 5 inches in the high jump to place seventh.

In perhaps the most exhilarating race of the day, Keegan Greaney blasted out of the blocks and shocked the field with a wire-to-wire win in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing in 40.28 seconds, the fourth-fastest time among 4A athletes this season and within .1 seconds of the Sisters School record.

Earlier in the meet Greaney placed fifth in the 110 hurdles in 16.34 seconds.

Greaney joined Garbrecht, Mannhalter, and Bachtold in the 4x400-meter relay to conclude the meet and the foursome not only won, but established a season best of 3:28.81, which ranks second among 4A teams behind Henley’s 3:25.84.

“I am very proud of the boys team,” said Larson. “Last year we only scored 53 points and I challenged them to score 120. They nearly met that goal with 117, which is quite a turnaround.”

Cottage Grove won the meet with 180 points, followed by Junction City (145), Sisters (117), Elmira (104), Sweet Home (83) and Sutherlin (22).

Special honors were bestowed on the Outlaws at the conclusion of the meet. Sabrina Reifschneider was named the Female Track Athlete of the Meet for her wins in the hurdles and both relays, while Erynn Ricker won the Female Field Athlete of the Meet for her wins in the long jump and pole vault. The Sisters coaching staff of Larson, Wes Cook, Jim Anderson, Carlos Garcia and Eden Miller was named “Coaching Staff of the Year” for the girls team.

The 4A/5A/6A OSAA State Track and Field Championships take place Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 at historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.