La Grande roars in track invitational
Within two laps, Lewis had broken away from most of the runners by running at a 9 minute, 30-second pace.
Lap by lap, the group following Lewis got smaller and smaller and fell farther behind.
But the La Grande sophomore wasn’t one of the runners falling back. Instead, he began to close the gap after Lewis went past the 1,500 meters at about 4:40 — on pace to run about a 9:40 for the full distance in cold and windy conditions on the track at Eastern Oregon University.
In the space of two laps, Jonasson closed the gap behind Lewis to only a few yards.
Then, with a little more than 800 meters left in the race, he caught up to Lewis and passed by the Ontario runner who led most of the race.
Lewis tried to keep up for about 40 yards before Jonasson made a clean break.
“I knew he was going to go out pretty fast. I just waited for him to come back to me,” Jonasson said after the race. “I waited for him to die. I waited to make my move.”
He finished with a time just a few seconds off his personal best (9:55). His best time this season is the 10:03.90 he ran April 5 at the Oregon Trail Invitational at Vale.
In poorer weather, he ran 10:04.80 Friday.
Jonasson’s race impressed La Grande head coach Julie Bodfish. “Elliott had a great race, in spite of the weather,” she said.
Jonasson wasn’t the only La Grande athlete with a good performance, the coach said. “Leon Fuller had a brilliant javelin throw,” added Bodfish. He threw 167-6, the best throw this year in the 4A division.
According to Bodfish, her team came up with some good performances at the invitational. “The weather didn’t cooperate very well with us, but we still had a very good meet,” she said.
“But we had a lot of freshmen really do well today,” she said.
Considering that it was the second of three meets in a one-week span for some of the La Grande athletes, Bodfish was pleased. Some athletes competed in Pendleton Tuesday, at Eastern Oregon University Friday and several went to Pasco, Wash., for a meet Saturday.
Cullen Hancock had a strong afternoon in the pole vault, Bodfish said.
“He did 13-6 today. It is not a PR (personal record), but it is six inches under it. He was getting ready for the Pasco meet. He was trying out a new pole because you have to get on bigger poles the higher you go. Considering he was on a new pole, 13-6 is an awesome vault.”
The invitational wasn’t a meet the team was keying on, the coach said. That didn’t keep other La Grande athletes from having strong efforts.
Noah McLean improved in the long jump by six inches, Bodfish said. “He had a PR in the 400 meters today too.” McLean won the 400 meters with a time of 53.28 seconds.
Jobin Reed had a pair of seconds in the two hurdle races, losing only to one of the top hurdlers in the state.
Fruitland won the team title with 152.5 points, while La Grande came in second with 106.5 — barely ahead of Ontario.
Delgado leads Ontario
Ontario’s Joe Delgado was busy during the meet, winning the 110-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles, long jump and had a leg on the winning 400-meter relay — helping score almost half his team’s 104 points.
The University of Oregon-bound athlete went under the 40-second mark in the 300-meter hurdle race. His 39.97-second time is the fastest 4A mark this season, but still is shy of his 38.24 time in last season’s state championship race.
His Ontario teammate, Dax Poston, won both the 100 and 200 meters, while also running legs on the winning 400-meter relay and the second-place 1,600-meter relay teams.
With each victory worth 10 points in the team race, Delgado’s 30 and Poston’s 30 — plus 18 from the relay races — meant the two seniors had a hand in 78 of Ontario’s points.
Baker finished fourth in the meet with 93.5 points, thanks to a field event win and an 800-1,500-meter double.
Baker’s Nic Maszk and Nyssa’s Quentin Jensen dueled in both the boy’s 800 meters and 1,500 meters. Maszk won both races, with the fastest time in the Greater Oregon League this year in the 1,500 meters (4:19.08). He needed that to beat Jensen to the finish by one second.
It was even closer in the 800 meters, as Maszk ran a 2:06.49 — the second-fastest GOL time this year. Jensen was three-tenths of a second behind. Dane Bachman gave Baker its other individual win in the triple jump with a 40-feet, seven-inch effort. Bachman also was second in the high jump.
Nyssa finished one-half point behind Baker in the team results, taking fifth with 93 points, while McLoughlin had 51 points in sixth place. Union scored 36.5 points for seventh, while Powder Valley was eighth with 23 points.
Freshman Trevor Verhelst had a strong meet for Union. He finished third in the 200 meters (24.11) and beat Powder Valley sprinter Colton Eubanks (fourth, 24:30). He also was third in the 400 meters (54.38).