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UP AND OVER AND ON TO STATE: La Grande's David Butler clears 12 feet, 3 inches at Friday's Greater Oregon League meet in Milton-Freewater, good for second place and a trip to next week's Class 3A state meet. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).
UP AND OVER AND ON TO STATE: La Grande's David Butler clears 12 feet, 3 inches at Friday's Greater Oregon League meet in Milton-Freewater, good for second place and a trip to next week's Class 3A state meet. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

MILTON-FREEWATER David Butler and Casey Fenwick pulled off the first-day surprises for La Grande Friday.

The two set personal bests at just the right time at the Greater Oregon League track and field championships.

Butler entered the district meet tied with three other pole vaulters with the second-best mark at 12 feet. Grant Unions Justin Ellson had the top mark at 13 feet, 6 inches. Butler vaulted 12-3 for second place and an automatic state berth.

That was an exceptional surprise for us, La Grande coach Joe Sandoz said.

Fenwick added to the list of surprises. Like Butler, Fenwick was in a three-way tie with the second best mark in the long jump at 20-1. John Milleson of McLoughlin had the best jump at 20-4 entering the day.

Milleson and Fenwick got into a battle for first, going back-and-forth until Milleson pulled away for the win. Fenwick took second with a leap of 20-6 and a state berth.

Those two got into head-to-head competition and had a great jump off, Sandoz said.

Jessyca Barker was the Tigers third state qualifier of the first day, finishing second in the 3,000-meter run. Barker entered the meet with the second-fastest time in the GOL to Bakers Danielle Jordan.

She got the place we figured shed get, Sandoz said.

Behind Barker, freshman Kayla Arritola and junior Malia Anderson finished fourth and fifth in the 3,000, both personal bests.

Brent Keith placed fourth in the discus with a personal record on his last throw. Paul Roe took sixth in the pole vault at 10-6. Evan Squire finished seventh in the high jump.

Sandoz was particularly impressed with the performances turned in by freshmen Travis Dixon and Dane Johnson in the 3,000. Both finished with personal records placing eighth and ninth.

Dixons time was 9 minutes, 58 seconds and Johnson posted a 10:09 mark.

That was our first sub 10-minute mark for a freshman in a couple of decades, Sandoz said.

Casey Evers finished fourth in the javelin and Amber Rasmussen was seventh in the long jump.

Advancing from the Fridays preliminary races into todays finals are: Geoff Hitchon (100), Devin Orton and Hitchon (200), Orton and Garron Lamoreau (400), Andrew Kiemnec (800), Chris Jones and Eric Griffith (110 hurdles and 300 hurdles).

For the girls, Kylee Winkler will be in the 100 and 200 finals, Tammy Darval in the 100, Anderson and Alexis Kinney in the 800, Amanda Timm in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, and Breez Fredrickson in the 100 hurdles.

We felt like we got most of what we could get (in the first day), Sandoz said. There were some minor disappointments here and there, but also some good performances.

Times and distances were unavailable at press time.

Todays final performances begin at noon.


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