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La Grande’s Lexus Miller-Moylan takes the baton for the anchor leg of the 1,600-meter relay Saturday at the Pepsi Track Invite. (Brad Mosher/The Observer)
by Brad Mosher/The Observer
UNION — Vale’s Lady Vikings led the team scoring race from the first event at Saturday’s Pepsi Invitational track meet.
But the Lady Vikings watched that lead slip away for good in the final events as La Grande came from behind to claim a 143-point win. Vale finished second with 129.5 points.
It was Mandy Wolfe who gave Vale the lead after the first event, winning the shot put with a toss of 36 feet 6-1/2-inches. Enterprise’s Marta Stangel was second (35-8), ahead of Cove’s Mikayla Murchison (33-2-1/2) and Annaliese Wiseman of La Grande (31-11-1/2).
It wasn’t until the second-to-the-last event, the 3,000 meters, that La Grande passed the Vikings in the team scoring race.
While Katriel O’Reilly was dominating the race for Union and winning in 11 minutes 13.75 seconds, it was La Grande’s two runners placing third and fifth which gave the Tigers a 10-1 scoring swing against Vale. Amanda Welch took third in 11:47.18, her fastest time this season. Rose Winter placed fifth in 11:57.06, three seconds behind Cove’s Hannah Brazil.
It was the final event that completed the Tiger comeback, as La Grande’s foursome of Jasmine Smith, Ally Tsiatsos, Alissa Welberg and Lexus Miller-Moylan won easily with a 4:19.70 time — almost 10 seconds faster than the second-place team from Elgin. It also was the fastest 1,600-meter relay time in the Greater Oregon League.
The Tigers also went into the final event riding high after a series of wins rallied the team from behind.
Smith entered the relay race with a victory in the 800 meters, but Miller-Moylan brought victories in the 200-meter and 400-meter races — one of them a meet record.
“Lexus moved into the top 10 in the 200,” La Grande coach Julie Bodfish said. The La Grande sophomore won in 26.55 seconds, beating Cove’s Morgan Reddington (27.33) and Marta Stangel of Enterprise (28.08).
Miller-Moylan also set a meet record of 1:00.47 in the 400 meters, beating Hannah Maupin of Crane by four seconds. That time moved the La Grande athlete to the top of the district in the 400 meters.
La Grande also got another double win from Haley White in the hurdle events, beating Vale’s Hannah Bates in both races.
White’s wins gave 20 points to the Tigers. The two rival hurdlers duelled step for step and hurdle for hurdle in both races, with White pulling out the win in the final steps each time.
According to La Grande’s track coach, the team is coming up with personal records and strong performances at the right time.
“We are right on track to have our kids peak at district and state,” said Bodfish. “I’m extremely happy with all the kids and how very hard they are working. It shows what kind of character and dedication they have.”
Cove placed third in the team race with 59 points, while Union had 56 and McLoughlin scored 49. Enterprise was sixth (46.5), while Elgin tied with Adrian (28). Imbler finished 11th with 16 points, while Powder Valley had 11 points in 13th place. Joseph was 14th with 10.5 points.
O’Reilly leads Union
O’Reilly ran away from her competition in both the 1,500 meters and the 3,000 meters.
In the 1,500 meters, O’Reilly took over the race immediately. With her teammate McKenzie Evans, O’Reilly moved into the lead and pushed the pace.
After one lap, McLoughlin’s Josie Lonai fell back, leaving the race to the two Union runners.
O’Reilly continued to push and left Evans behind.
O’Reilly finished in 4:59.44, her fastest time this year and moved to the top of the district and the 2A list in the event. Evan’s 5:04.68 was a new personal best for the junior and moved her into the second spot among Oregon’s 2A distance runners.
Although happy to break five minutes in the 1,500 meters, O’Reilly said she could have gone faster.
The Union pair repeated the one-two finish again in the 3,000 meters with O’Reilly winning in 11:13.75 and Evans following in 11:14.81. The two times also moved the pair of Lady Cats to the top of the 2A list in the 3,000 meters.
Cove’s Reddington leaps
Reddington edged McLoughlin’s Kristi Childers by one-quarter inch for the long jump win Saturday with a jump of 15-9-1/4.
The top four finishers were within four inches of the winning mark. Childer’s second-place effort also moved her into second in the GOL.
Reddington also finished second in the 100 meters with a 13.16 time.
Reddington added another second-place finish in the 200 meters, in spite of notching her fastest time this year — 27.33 seconds. She lost out to Miller-Moylan of La Grande.
Reddington teamed with Molly DelCurto, Dani Noble and Josey Koehn to log their fastest 400-meter relay time of the season. Cove’s 54.07-second effort was only good enough for fourth place.