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BIG STEP: La Grande’s Kayla Rasmussen (right) leads teammate Haley White to a one-two-three sweep in the 100-meter hurdles. BRAD MOSHER / The Observer
La Grande literally doubled up on the rest of the Greater Oregon League at the girls district track championships — and finished with almost twice the points of its nearest pursuer.
The Lady Tigers grabbed the district crown Saturday with an easy 150-point effort. Crook County was the nearest team, with 76 points, followed by McLoughlin edging Baker by three points (48 to 45) in the battle for third. Ontario finished with 15 points in the team race.
Amanda Welch got her team off to a fast start with an 11:27.96 win Friday in the 3,000 meters. The freshman pulled away from rival Josie Lonai in the final laps for a decisive nine-second win. At the same time, Crook County’s hope fell into the infield three laps into the race when the best of the Cowgirls’ distance runners, Kelly Thurmond, went down with a leg cramp and did not finish.
The following day, Thurman was back at the starting line and ran a 5:20.36 — but that was seven seconds behind Welch’s winning time of 5:13.18. Welch entered the meet with a best of 4:59.63 in the 1,500 meters.
La Grande’s Rose Winters placed third in 5:29.29, just one day after taking third in the 3,000 meters (11:56.86).
In the distance races, the Lady Tigers had built up a 14-1 scoring edge over Crook County in just the 3,000 meters, with Welch winning, Winters third and Annie Woodworth fourth. Lonai got McLoughlin off to a six-point start with her second place, while Natalie Stenbeck scored the only Crook County point in the race by taking fifth.
With the one-three finish in the 1,500 meters, the Lady Tigers had a 26-8 scoring edge from just the two distance races.
In the 100 meters, Kayla Rasmussen didn’t match her 12.77 clocking from Friday’s prelims, but she still won the district crown with a 13:04 time, followed by McLoughlin’s Kristi Childers (13.10). Crook County’s sprint tandem of McKenzie Zirbel and Makinsi Gregory took third and fourth, while Haley White and Alora Brown gave the Lady Tigers a tie for fifth(13.82).
That gave the Lady Tigers another scoring edge (9 to 6) over their rivals from Crook County.
Zirbel gave the Cowgirls a sprint win in the 200 meters with a 27.23 triumph and picked up a third when Gregory ran 27.79. La Grande’s Alora Brown gave the Tigers a second place (27.70) and teammate Amy Hickey grabbed fifth (28.50).
In the 400 meters, Ontario’s Aliya Yano won in 1:03.80, while Allie Godfrey (1:05.25) and Ally Tsiatsos (1:06.05) gave La Grande fourth and fifth while Crook County was shut out from scoring.
McLoughlin’s Lonai won the 800 meters (2:24.47) by a step over La Grande’s Jasmine Smith (2:24.71). Erin Bodfish gave the Tigers a fifth place and a 7 to 2 scoring edge over Crook County in the event.
BIG FINISH: La Grande’s Jasmine Smith relishes her team’s big 4x400-meter relay victory Saturday on the Eastern Oregon University track. The win earned the relay team a trip to the 4A state championship meet in Eugene Friday.
In the hurdles, the Lady Tigers swept the top three places in both races, led by Rasmussen.
Rasmussen won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.02, followed by White (16.67) and Brown (17.69) while Crook County’s Joey Hehn took fifth — giving the hosts an 18-1 scoring advantage that would be more than repeated in the longer hurdle race.
In the 300-meter hurdles, Rasmussen won in 46.79, followed by White (48.61) and Lauren March (50.55). The Cowgirls didn’t have a finisher in the event, giving the Tigers an 18-0 scoring boost over their nearest rivals.
In the 4x100-meter relay, Crook County defeated La Grande by more than a second. The Cowgirls ran a 51.47, while White, Godfrey, Brown and Rasmussen finished in 51.65.
But in the 4x400-meter relay, the final event of the meet, the Lady Tigers added an exclamation mark to their team win when they pulled away to an easy 4:18.32 victory over Mcloughlin (4:25.53) and Ontario (4:26.95).
In the field events, Baker’s Allie Ferdig won the shot by 2.5 inches, to hand Crook County’s Marci Johnson a loss, while Kate Tooke took third with a 31-11.5 throw. Tooke came up with a 92-7 effort that won the discus, beating Molly Viles of Crook County for the gold.
Koryn Wilson gave the Lady Tigers a win in the high jump by clearing 4-10 and edging Baker’s Rachel Streifel at the same heighth. Crook County settled for third and fourth with Hannah Troutman and Laken Berlin.
Crook County took the pole vault when Danielle Michael cleared 8-6, to beat Baker’s Streifel (8-3), while La Grande’s Hickey and Taylor Fritz placed third (8-0) and fourth(7-6), respectively.
Smith gave the Lady Tigers a victory in the triple jump (33-9), while teammates March (32-7.5) and Rachel Alexander (31-8.5) placed third and fourth.
The top two finishers in each event qualify for the 4A state meet in Eugene Friday and Saturday.