By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
McNary High School senior Dani Duran added to her growing list of accomplishments at the Greater Valley Conference Championships last week.
Duran took the league titles in the 400 meter race and 300 meter hurdles at the meet held in McMinnville May 13 and 14.
“It’s definitely a good feeling,” Duran said. “I was just out there trying to compete and reach some goals.”
One of those goals was setting a new school record in the 300 hurdles, which she did with a time of 44.91 seconds. The old school record was 45.3 seconds.
Duran ran the hurdles for the first time earlier this season and immediately started posting times that put her in the top three in the entire state.
“It was something I wanted to do, but I’d never even practiced it before. I was worried that it would turn out to be a bad experience, but now I want that state title,” Duran said.
With her time at the GVC meet, Duran is now second in the state. Gresham High School’s Leah Russell leads with a time of 43.93.
“She’s a whole second ahead me, but I’m still improving every meet,” Duran said.
Duran finished the 400 meter with a time of 58.60 seconds to take the gold.
The Celts’ only other solo title winner was the boys Brendan Van Voorhis, who took first in the 400 meter with a time of 49.26.
“I was struggling with a knot in my calf, but I got it done,” Van Voorhis said.
While winning the title was a source of pride, Van Voorhis said he hoped for a ripple effect.
“Kyle Torres (a McNary alum) inspired me to train hard when I was running with him, and I really just hope I can motivate the younger athletes to do the same thing,” he said.
Van Voorhis was also part of a 4×100 relay team – with Austin Brown, Levi Timmons and Anthony Nguyen – that took gold with a time of 42.78 seconds.
“That was great because we’d been losing to West Salem (High School) the entire season, but we beat them when it counted,” Van Voorhis said.
Nguyen said the team members knew they had the speed to win the title, but it took time to get the hand-offs down.
“When we faced them in the Jesuit Twilight Relays, we thought we would have won if one of the other runners hadn’t fallen into our lane,” said Nguyen. “It means a lot to us because we’ve had a lot of teams take that title and it makes a solid statement about our program.”
Celt Kailey Doutt is headed to the state meet as an alternate in the 800 meter race after taking second at the GVC meet with a time of 2:19.50.
Brown Timmons, Nguyen and Van Voorhis took third in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:28.64, and the girls 4×100 relay team of Alyssa Looney, Courtney Giessinger, Daumanique Rodriguez and Duran took bronze with a time of 50.40 seconds.