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Home arrow Opinion arrow Gold Rush in Eugene

Gold Rush in Eugene

La Grande’s Leon Fuller took the advice of the sign behind him to win the 4A state crown in the javelin Saturday. Fuller was the only Tiger athlete to come back from Eugene with gold after throwing 180 feet, 5 inches. Teammate Caleb Woodworth finished fourth in the event. (Casey Kellas/The Observer)
La Grande’s Leon Fuller took the advice of the sign behind him to win the 4A state crown in the javelin Saturday. Fuller was the only Tiger athlete to come back from Eugene with gold after throwing 180 feet, 5 inches. Teammate Caleb Woodworth finished fourth in the event. (Casey Kellas/The Observer)

Fuller claims javelin title by seven-foot margin at state meet 

EUGENE — Leon Fuller didn’t let high expectations get the best of him Saturday at the 4A state track meet in Eugene.

The La Grande senior held the top javelin throw in the state all season long, and he was able to deliver by winning the state title at Hayward Field.

Fuller threw more than seven feet farther than his closest competitor, posting a mark of 180 feet, 5 inches to win his first state championship.

“It feels pretty amazing,” Fuller said. “I’m still just taking it all in — realizing I just won it.”

Dalen Hargett of Newport finished second with a throw of 173-10, while North Bend’s Cameron Lucero finished third (165-09) and Caleb Woodworth of 

La Grande placed fourth (165-6).

Fuller said at the start of the season he didn’t think he’d be on top of the podium.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” he said. “I was kind of hoping for third place at best. I never thought I’d do this good.”

Fuller said he didn’t feel too much pressure entering the event with the state’s top mark. It just added to his fire.

“It kind of gave me confidence,” he said. “It was nice having Caleb Woodworth there with me the entire time, jumping back and forth between first and second. That was a lot of fun. He pushed me to be better.”

He said he wasn’t fazed by historic Hayward Field.

“I love competing here. It’s just an amazing atmosphere,” he said.

Fuller was the only
La Grande athlete to claim state gold over the weekend.

First-year head coach Julie Bodfish admitted that it was a rough weekend.

“We had some ups and downs definitely,” Bodfish said. “Some of the kids were disappointed.”

Cullen Hancock earned a top-three finish in the pole vault for the Tigers.

Hancock cleared 13 feet, 6 inches to take third place.

Jobin Reed took fourth in the boys 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.03 seconds.

“Jobin ran his heart out,” Bodfish said.

 Blaine Kreutz jumped to 11th place in the triple jump with a mark of 40 feet, 5-1/2 inches.

The team of Fuller, Reed, Noah McLean and Shay Henderson finished 10th in the 400-meter relay with a time of 44.56 seconds, and Noel March finished 13th in the 1,500 with a time of 4:21.34.

On the girls side, Amanda Welch placed seventh in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 5 minutes, .79 seconds Saturday. She finished ninth in the 3,000 meters with a time of 11:10.55 Friday.

“Amanda came out and set a PR in the 1,500,” Bodfish said. “She did awesome. She’s had kind of a hard season. To see her finish it like that was amazing.”

Injuries become problem

Haley White took seventh place in the 100-meter hurdles after running a time of 16.43 seconds.

White, Kayla Rasmussen, Alora Brown and Ally Tsiatsos teamed up to finish 13th in the 400-meter relay with a time of 55.54 seconds, while Welch, Tsiatsos, Jasmine Smith and Erin Bodfish placed 13th in the 1,600-meter relay with a time of 4:18.74.

“The girls in the (1,600-meter) relay had a two-and-a-half-second PR, so you can’t ask for much more than that,” the coach said.

For the Lady Tigers, injuries became a problem.

Lexus Miller-Moylan got injured in the 400-meter dash, while Rasmussen had to be scratched from the 1,600-meter relay with an injury.

“It was very disappointing to have Lexus and Kayla get hurt,” the coach said. 

“Lexus has an injured patella tendon and it went out on her. So, we had to pull her from both relays,” she said. 

“And Kayla’s quad just acted up after the (400-
meter relay).”

Bodfish said that her first season at the helm was a successful one, and she is looking forward to coming back to the state meet again.

“It’s been a great year,” she said. “It’s good to be back as a coach. I’ve coached for years and years, but I haven’t coached track for a while. It’s always been my love. I ran track for
La Grande High School, so it’s kind of a nice full circle for me. You couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with.”

Contact Casey Kellas at 541-975-3351 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Casey on Twitter


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