Tualatin athletes place at 6A Track & Field State Showcase

Isabella Kneeshaw, Staff Writer

Several Tualatin athletes competed in this year’s version of the 6A State Championships held at Oregon City’s Pioneer Stadium on May 21-22. Only the state’s top 16 athletes in each event were eligible to qualify for the meet, allowing a total of 20 Tualatin athletes entry. 

Qualifying athletes in track races 800m or less competed in preliminary races on May 21 to make the Saturday finals. Those athletes were seniors Amerrah Horne-Vaden and Cate Phipps, both competing in the finals of the 100m dash. Phipps earned a fifth-place finish and Horne-Vaden an eighth-place finish. 

Phipps, Horne-Vaden, Stella Pfiefer and Isabella Keeshaw also took the podium in the 4x100m relay, placing fourth overall. 

On May 21, high jumpers Ellie Hammond and Kyra Bakke dominated. Freshman Bakke cleared 5’5 to take a very impressive first place. Hammond, a senior this year, came in third and will be competing at Nike’s Outdoor Nationals in June. 

Junior Caleb Lakeman ran the 800m in 1:57 on May 21 to earn his spot in the finals. Saturday, just an hour after breaking his own school record in the 1500m, Lakeman raced the 800m again to come in fifth place overall and will also have the opportunity to compete at Nationals this summer. 

Whether or not athletes placed top eight at the meet, it’s impressive just to be competing at the 6A state level, and many of our Tualatin athletes achieved personal or season records. 

Sophomore Aaron Lakeman was among the competitors at the state showcase racing in the 3k, 1500m and 4x400m. Staying consistent with his older brother, Aaron also broke his own Tualatin sophomore record in the 3k on May 21.

“I enjoyed racing the amazing competition, and having my teammates there to cheer me on and cheer them on as well,” sophomore and distance runner Lakeman stated. “It was amazing to watch my teammates compete, I loved seeing our high jump girls for first and third and the 4x100m girls get fourth, and seeing my brother get fifth in the 800.” 

High jump champion Bakke accompanied the rest of Tualatin’s freshman crew, who were also there to represent, as Simon Phipps competed in the 4x100m, Lauren Ayers ran the 800m and 1500m, and Karys Gates ran leg three of the 4x400m. 

In addition, two of Tualatin’s hurdlers earned their spots at the meet: senior Lesli Irineo Venegas raced the 100m hurdles and junior Zachary Katsuda ranked twelfth in the state for the 300m hurdles. 

Taking our eyes away from the track, senior Philip Pierce competed in the pole vault while junior Kellen Hale and senior Luke Wilson took on the javelin.

Lastly, more great performances on the men’s side came from junior Noah Ogoli in the 400m, 4x100m and 4x400m, while sophomore Marcus Lludes ran leg three of the 4×100 and junior Alex Smith raced the final event of the meet, the 4x400m. 

Overall it was an impressive weekend of competition for our Tualatin Track and Field team, especially as there have been more obstacles than usual to overcome this season.