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One more hurdle for tracksters

Of the Keizertimes

History was made at the Central Valley Conference track and field championships.

McNary seniors Lauren Brouse and Amy Jones kept their streak of never losing to a conference foe when on the same 4X400 relay alive with a thrilling win against South Salem on Friday, May 21.

“Coming to the 200 mark, I was ahead. And then Kelsey Moe (of South Salem) came in and, like, stepped in front, cut me off,” said Brouse, who ran the anchor leg. “I had to slow down. So coming around the (final) corner, she was ahead. I got angry that she cut me off. We’d taken it for three years, so I just pushed it as hard as I could and barely got it, but I got it.”

The bang-bang finish, which came in the final event of the championships, was so close that Brouse didn’t know if Moe crossed the finish line ahead of her.

Lauren Brouse. Photo by

Sophomore Averi Wing and freshman Laura Donaldson completed the McNary relay.

“I was a little tense there for a while,” said McNary Coach Kelley Borresen. “They had a goal to want to go all four years and win all four years. And for them to be able to that, and for the young girls to be able to step up and help them do that, I’m really happy for them.”

The streak didn’t go unnoticed by  members of the relay’s younger set.

“Me and Averi were, like, we cannot let them down,” said Donaldson. “We felt really good that we didn’t break the streak.”

In addition, the relay set its best mark of the season, two-tenths of a second from a new school record.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Wing. “Hopefully we get (the school record) because it probably won’t happen again because the seniors are leaving, unless we get some fast people next year. So it’s a really good chance.”

The Lady Celts’ 4X100 began Friday’s action with a district championship. Members on this relay include Brouse, Jones, Wing and sprinter Rachel Fast.

McNary also saw four individual district champions crowned: senior Megan Hingston in the 100m hurdles and shot put, Brouse in the 400m, junior Tim McDowell in the high jump and junior Jenna Quesnel in the pole vault.

Qualifying for state with second place finishes were sophomore Dylan McHugh in the 800m, Hingston in the 300m hurdles, Jones in the 800m, Brouse in the 200m, Fast in the 100 and McDowell in the 400m.

It’s the first state meet for Wing, Donaldson, McHugh, and Quesnel.

McHugh entered the conference finals seeded fifth. But he won Thursday’s preliminaries and then was second in the finals.

“I just competed,” McHugh said. “I just went out and competed my hardest. I set a personal best by one second. It’s not a huge jump, but it works.”

Two-tenths of a second was the difference between second and third place.

“Expectations were that it wasn’t supposed to happen. But what I see from Dylan is he gets stronger every week,” said Borresen. “He’s maturing more and to see that, not only mentally but physically, he’s getting stronger as a competitor.”

Quesnel went from third to best in districts in one year. Her best mark is 10-4 though she won the district title at 9-6.

“I wanted to PR, but you take what you get,” Quesnel said. “And I did better than I last year at the district meet, and that’s what really matters.”

Quesnel added she hopes to build on her state experience, especially since she will continue pole vaulting her senior year. Maybe by then it will sink in that she’s a district champion.

“It hasn’t really clicked in yet,” Quesnel said of the title. “People have been congratulating me, and I’m like, thank you. Then it clicks. I’m district champ, and that’s pretty cool.”

McDowell qualified for the Class 4A state meet last year while attending Lebanon High School. But this is his first Class 6A state meet.

“The team events, like the 4X100 and the 4X400, are definitely a lot harder than I think they were at our 4A district meet,” said McDowell. “But I think individual-wise, it’s probably about the same.”

McDowell enters the state meet with a personal best of 6-4 in the high jump. He thinks the competition will push him to an even higher mark this season.

“I think I will rise to the occasion and show that I am a force to be reckoned with,” McDowell said.

Fast has been to state as a member of the 4X100 relay, but never has an individual.

“I’m really excited because it means I have gone further in my running ability,” said the senior. “I can now go as myself and do an individual event. It means a lot to me. I’m really excited.”

Upon crossing the finish line, Fast didn’t know if her individual season had just ended.

“It was a really close race, and so I wasn’t sure if I got second or third. I was like ‘oh no,” Fast said.

Fast added she didn’t know exactly where she placed until the awards were presented.

All in all, it was a good meet for McNary athletes.

“I’m really pleased with the district meet,” said Borresen. “When you look at our kids, the majority of them either set personal bests or tied their personal bests. So anytime you go into a meet and you have kids exceed what they have been training for, I think you have to be really happy with that.”

Borresen added her team’s elite athletes met expectation as well.

“Everyone is going to state. Everyone had exceptional performances, considering the weather, considering everything that we had. I couldn’t be happier with them. I think they did excellent,” she said of her state qualifiers.