Eight Cleveland athletes sent to the OSAA state meet


By Bella Forrest, Reporter

The 2016 track season ended with a bang, Cleveland placing third overall for the boys and sixth for the girls sending eight athletes to the OSAA state meet this past weekend.

Athletes work all year towards qualifying for the state meet at Hayward Field in Eugene at the end of May, but this season was different without many of the seniors to lead the team.

At the district meet, Ariel Harmon, sophomore, qualified in the discus with a throw of 92-03, placing second. The 4×400 relay team of seniors Jalato Sultessa and Noah Adams, junior Peter Gregory, and sophomore Gabe Knepper made the cut with a 3:24.40 first place finish and Adams also qualified individually in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:55.34 in first place. Stellan Roberts, senior, and Gregory both qualified in the 110 and 300 meter hurdles, placing first and second with times of 15.67 and 15.98 and then in the 300 meter hurdles placing first and second again with times of 39.81 and 40.69.

“My 110 meter hurdles didn’t go as planned. I tripped over the fifth hurdle, went all the way down and then gave up and finished in a solid 23 seconds which was disappointing, but then in the 300 hurdles I was pretty happy with it. I PRed twice,” Gregory said of his state performance.

“I was just happy to be [at state]. It was really fun to go as a sophomore. I definitely think I’m going to try to go there as an individual instead of just as a relay team next year,” Knepper said.

At Hayward Field, the venue of the state championships, there were many stand-out performances. “On the throwing side, Ariel Harmon, sophomore, got a taste of state and wants to go back. I think that through continued experience, we’ll see some people pop up a bit. She performed very well for her first time out, being our lone female track team representative at state, getting a personal record in the discus,” head coach Steve Nims said.

Adams placed second in the finals of the 800 meter run with a time of 1:56.34, and Gregory placed sixth in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 39.42 because of a trip over the fifth hurdle slowing him down. The 4×400 relay team placed fourth at state with a combined time of 3:24.97 and Morgan placed ninth in the javelin final with a throw of 167-09.

This being Harmon’s first season on the track team, it was very impressive for her to qualify. “I would say it was an amazing experience and I was really grateful for the opportunity to go to state in my first year of track. Also because it was my first year, I really need to work harder over the summer and into next year to practice my form and get in better shape. Also I really need to get stronger,” Harmon said. “It was pretty nice to have my own room, but at the same time it was pretty hard because I didn’t really know the others competing and lost some of the fun I think it would have been if another was there, but it still was awesome.”

Many athletes were able to come out of injury and sickness after being on the sidelines watching. Sophomore and sprinter Tess Franke as well as distance runner Anna Rollins, junior made their appearances at the district meet, and while neither qualified for state, they were still able to get out and compete. “[Tess] Franke was sick earlier in the season with strep throat twice. That impacted her. She had a very good PIL district meet and took fourth in the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 meters. If she would’ve been able to train all season, we don’t know. It’s kind of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ as far as how she would’ve done,” said Nims. Senior Emma Hausafus ended her high school high jump career without a district or state appearance due to a shin injury. “She just couldn’t jump anymore so that was bad for both the team and her. Because of Abby [Bullock], people were aware of going to the trainer and seeing if they needed help,” Nims said. “We lost more kids to concussions sustained not through track but through soccer or through stuff at home.”

Overall, the state competitors were very new to the experience. “When eight of your nine members are from one gender, you want to try to balance that out. We were very young on the girls’ side but Tess [Franke] still had a really good year. Audrey Olenski had a great year, was asked to do a lot. Some seniors didn’t do track. We really, really missed the senior leadership and just good nature of being out there with people like Bella Forrest and Camille MacLean, but we understand it,” Nims said in conclusion of the 2016 track season.