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OErynnRickerStateriginally Published The Nugget News May 24, 2016
Author Charlie Kanzig

Nearly every Sisters athlete who qualified for the state track and field meet came home with a medal, concluding the 2016 season on a high note for the Outlaws. The Sisters athletes jumped, threw and ran at the OSAA Championships held Friday and Saturday, May 20-21 at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

T.J. Hooks got the medal collection underway Friday with a personal best in the 3,000 meters, where he finished sixth in 9:11.67.

“T.J. ran bravely, as usual,” said head Coach Jeff Larson.

The only other Friday final resulted in a 15th-place finish in the long jump (14 feet even) for Erynn Ricker who never approached her season best of 16 feet 5 inches. Julianne Meeter also struggled a bit, placing 13th in the javelin with a throw of 101 feet 6 inches which was about 14 feet shy of her best for the season.

“Those sorts of things happen at State, but both girls should have another opportunity next season in those events,” said Larson.

Saturday was a much busier day for the Outlaws, starting with Ricker and Tessa O’Hern competing in the pole vault. Ricker came through with a season best of 10 feet even to place fourth, just 6 inches away from the first- place finisher. Tessa O’Hern cleared 9 feet 1/4 inch, missing a medal based on misses as six girls cleared the same height.

“Tessa did a good job of clearing a very tough opening height on which five or six other girls failed,” said Larson.

The speedy quartet of Sabrina Reifschneider, Ricker, Michaela Miller and Mandi Calavan whisked the baton around the oval in a season best time of 50.61 seconds to finish fourth.

Jadon Bachtold knew there was no clear favorite in the 1,500 and he ran to win, taking the lead in the final lap before being overcome by a fast-kicking Aryton Ledesma of Tillamook, who won the race in 4:10.1 to Bachtold’s 4:11.7.

“With 300 to go, Jadon went for it and really made it an exciting finish,” said Larson.

Ricker returned to the track for the 100 meters and ran an all-time best of 12.80 seconds to finish fourth in a very fast field.

“Erynn had a great Saturday after struggling a bit the day before, and shows that she has what it takes to move up on the podium in the years to come,” said Larson of his sophomore star.

Sabrina Reifschneider and Michaela Miller started side by side in the 100-meter hurdles, but Reifschneider ran a lifetime best of 16.00 seconds to finish fourth, while Miller finished seventh in 16.39.

Miller picked up her third medal of the meet later in the afternoon in the 300 hurdles with another seventh-place finish in 48.83 seconds.

“Michaela topped off a wonderful high school career,” said Larson. “She will be greatly missed. Four trips to the state meet and numerous all-state performances is something that you just can’t easily replace.”

Keegan Greaney polished off a fine hurdling season of his own, finishing fourth in the boys 300 hurdles with a time of 40.95 seconds.

“Keegan embraced the change of being a 400-meter runner to become a hurdler who is likely to break theschool record before he finishes high school,” said Larson.

The final race of the day, the 4x400-meter relay, capped the successful day for both girls and boys teams.

The girls squad of Mandi Calavan, Rylee Weber, Sabrina Reifschneider and Macadia Calavan put together their best performance of the season to finish third, less than a second behind North Valley in 4:10.59. Phoenix ran away from the field with a winning time of 4:04.74.

The Outlaw boys team of Sam Garbrecht, Colton Mannhalter, Greaney and Bachtold put the pressure on the favored Henley Hornets one leg after another and nearly pulled off the upset before finishing second in a season-best of 3:25.02, which is third-best in school history. Henley, which won the overall team title, finished in 3:24.44, also their best time of the year.

“All three of the relay teams really came through for us,” said Larson. “The relays were my favorite part of the meet to watch since it’s four kids working together to make things happen.

“I tip my hat to this year’s senior class,” said Larson. “I told them two months ago that we (as a team) would go as far as they could take us, and they did not disappoint.”

The girls team finished ninth overall with 28 points. Astoria, which scored in 11 of the 17 events including five wins, dusted the rest of the 4A teams with 109.5 points, a 4A State Meet record total.

Siuslaw finished second (72), Marshfield third (63.5), and Molalla fourth (49) as the remaining trophy winners.

Henley scored 83.5 points to take the top trophy for boys, followed by Newport (59.5), Tillamook (47) and North Bend (44.5). Sisters finished tied for 10th with 24 points.

The Sky-Em League produced not a single state champion in a meet dominated, interestingly, by teams and individuals from the Oregon Coast. The top performers from the Sky-Em were mostly Outlaws.