By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
SALEM—Haley Debban had a horrible track practice last Tuesday.
But Wednesday was a new day as the McNary senior PR’d by a foot in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet, 6 inches, to win the event in a league meet at South Salem.
“I have a bad habit of bailing off the pole too early and balling up and thinking that will be good enough, but instead I need to drive forward and actually get my feet up,” Debban said. “That’s what I was trying to do yesterday and I was just a mess, so then today I looked at the sky and that worked. I actually used the technique that my coach (Dustin Walker) has been drilling into me.”
After matching her personal record of 8-06 and then clearing 9 feet, Debban made 9-06 on her second attempt. She was stunned.
“I hit the mat and thought there’s no way,” Debban said. “I honestly didn’t believe it. Then I got really excited. That was an awesome moment.”
Debban’s vault is tied for third in the Greater Valley Conference this season behind Forest Grove junior Mila Lumae and teammate Paige Downer, who have both cleared 10 feet.
Debban started vaulting last season after watching Downer compete the year before.
“It was hard because I was still running a lot,” Debban said. “I did not do as well as I wanted to in the district meet, 8 feet. Senior year, I just want to vault. I have really bad back issues so running is really hard for me. It’s worked out in my favor.”
Debban and Downer have brought out the best in each other.
“We’re actually best friends,” Debban said. “We hype each other up. If we’re competing for first place at districts, I know we’re just going to be cheering each other on no matter what, same as state. We’re always there for each other. For me to strive to match her in height, it keeps me pushing and driving.”
McNary freshman Ashlin Samples PR’d in the long jump at 16-02.5.
“I just figured out my steps in it,” Samples said. “Once I was comfortable, it was easier to jump. It just felt more consistent.”
Samples also ran the third leg of the Lady Celts 4×100 relay team, which finished first in 52.13.
McNary senior Lucas Garvey won the 200 in 24.08 and the 400 in 53.08.
Other winners were: Dyami Rios (boys 100, 12.37), Leah Doutt (girls 100, 13.64), Caitlyn Kiefiuk Yates (girls 100 hurdles, 17.81), Noah Grunberg (boys 110 hurdles, 17.25), Casey Toavs (boys 300 hurdles, 42.51), Bo Rahm (boys shot put 45-07), Tim Kiser (boys discus, 134-04), Logun Anderson (boys javelin, 153-05), Sabella Alfaro (girls javelin, 95-08), Rian Canini (boys high jump, 5-10) and Sunny Hoang (boys pole vault, 10-0).
The Celtics are participating in the Grants Pass Rotary Invitational Track Meet on Saturday, April 28.
McNary then hosts North Salem, Sprague, West Salem and West Albany on Wednesday, May 2.