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Skyler MacDonald ().
Skyler MacDonald ().

EUGENE — La Grande's javelin thrower Skyler MacDonald has been sniffing like a bloodhound around the 200-foot mark all season.

Well, he finally found that elusive prey.

MacDonald, who went into the 3A state track meet in Eugene with a season-best throw of 199 feet, 1 inch, not only busted through the magical 200-foot barrier, he shattered a number of records in the process.

On his first throw of the day Saturday, MacDonald heaved the javelin 202-7, beating his previous best by three-and-a-half feet.

MacDonald had two other throws on the day over 200 feet, but the 202-7 throw turned out to be his best. That was good enough for the gold medal and a 3A state meet record.

The previous 3A state meet record was 186-9, set last year by Tyler Richardson of Estacada.

"It was a blast," said MacDonald.

MacDonald said he had been preparing for a 200-foot throw in the week leading up to state. He credits the emotions of the moment.

"At state, your adrenaline is pumping. It gets you kind of wound up," he said.

MacDonald is used to winning the javelin in local meets by 30 or 40 feet. In Eugene, he went up against the top 3A throwers from around the state — and still won the javelin by more than 20 feet. Second place was a throw of 182-3 by Brian Wuethrich of North Bend.

Coach Joe Sandoz said it was a special day. He said that to anyone's knowledge, this is the first 3A or 4A state meet record ever set by a La Grande track athlete. Wallowa's Hayley Oveson set 1A state meet records in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs last week.

Sandoz said the 200-foot barrier had become a big thing for MacDonald. He had several throws in the 190-200 foot range all season, but seemed to have topped out at 199-1.

"The last three weeks, he's been wanting it so bad," Sandoz said. "Oh, he was ready to compete (at state)."

MacDonald had a contingent of family members with him. They all sat right at the 200-foot mark.

"I told them to yell if it was over 200. They totally screamed after my first throw. I kind of thought I had done it after that," MacDonald said.

MacDonald not only had a personal cheering section, but many of the track-savvy Eugene spectators, respectful of what the La Grande senior was in the midst of accomplishing, starting giving him a "U of O" rhythmic applause every time he came up to throw. MacDonald said the clapping got really loud after it was announced he had set a state meet record.

"That got me going. That was pretty cool," he said.

MacDonald came in to the state meet as a heavy favorite to win the javelin. His seeding throw of 194-5 was six feet beyond the second seed throw.

There were college coaches on-hand to watch him throw, said Sandoz. MacDonald will be throwing the javelin for Brigham Young University next year.

Perhaps this is comparing apples and oranges because of differences in altitude, etc., but MacDonald's throw Saturday would be the fourth-best javelin throw in the Mountain West Conference (BYU's conference) this season. MacDonald plans to keep working hard on his technique, and hopes he can eventually get to 220- to 230-foot throws in college.

MacDonald isn't quite done yet with high school track. He has one more meet — an Oregon vs. Washington challenge — left. Only the elite athletes from around Oregon are invited. He will also compete in the Golden West Invitational later this month in Sacramento, Calif.

— Pierre LaBossire

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