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Tigers rally to win boys district championship
La Grande needed to come from behind in the final two events to win the Greater Oregon League district boys track title Saturday at Eastern Oregon University.
The hosts finished with 92 points, while Crook County finished with 81. McLoughlin took third with 67 points, while Baker followed with 59, just ahead of fifth-place Ontario’s 56 points.
The Tigers were one point behind Crook County with just the 300-meter hurdles and the 4x400-meter relay remaining.
Jobin Reed and Noah Sofe grabbed second and third in the hurdles, knocking Crook County’s Tyler Rockwood back to fourth. That meant the Tigers outscored Crook County by a 10-3 margin.
La Grande kept the lead and iced the title with a second-place finish in the relay (3:36.12), while Crook County placed fourth (3:39:58).
“By the time the 4x400 came up I had crunched the numbers and knew we had to do well. I knew we had to beat Crook County in that race (to win the district title),” coach Peter Fry said.
“I told the kids ‘it’s up to you.’ And they responded.”
The Tigers were able to secure wins in the triple jump, pole vault, 300-meter hurdles and the 400 meters — a total of 32 points. They also were able to rebound from the injury that ended the prep career of senior sprinter Robbie Smith. Smith pulled a hamstring in the middle of the 100 meters Saturday afternoon.
Earlier, Smith had helped the Tigers take second in the 4x100 meter relay (44.18) as Crook County’s quartet clocked a winning 44.02 time, its best of the season.
Smith had entered the meet with the fifth-fastest 110-meter hurdle time in the 4A division (15.45), the third-best 300-meter hurdles (39.71) and had the third-best 100 meters (11.14) after Friday’s prelims.
“That was a heartbreaker,” Fry said of Smith’s injury.
“Robbie is a fantastic athlete, but he’s also a great young man. But in spite of his injury, we had some kids really step up.”
Cullen Hancock set a new personal record in the pole vault with a 13-8 effort. He missed on three attempts at 14-0 Friday.
The pole vault puts the La Grande junior fourth among 4A vaulters this year. La Pine has the top two vaulters in seniors Deion Mock and Dylan Seay. Mock has cleared 14-10 this season, while Seay is tied with Oshay Dunmore of Newport at 14-6 for second.
Tiger grab one-two finish
Dallin Hayes also set a personal record with a 51.85 effort winning the district 400 meter title, cutting a half-second off his previous best. He also led the Tigers to a one-two finish in the event, as sophomore Shay Henderson took second (52.45).
Noah Sofe won the triple jump Saturday with a 42-10 effort, while helping the Tigers get a two-three finish in the 300-meter hurdles.
Jobin Reed took second (42.03), while Sofe was third (42.05).
Crook County picked up wins in the 800 meters, the shot put and the 4x100-meter relay.
McLoughlin’s Nathan Dombrosky had a big meet, winning the 100 meters in 10.95, the fastest 4A time of the year. It also would put him among the top five sprinters at the 5A level.
Dombrosky also won the 200 meters in 22.41 — the second-fastest 4A time this year by one-hundredth of a second. The McLoughlin senior also ran the anchor leg in the Pioneers’ 4x400 meter win (3:31.71) — helping the team get its best time of the year.
Ontario’s Joe Delgado easily claim the district crowns in both hurdle events (14.95 in the 100-meter hurdles) and cruised to a 39.03 win in the longer hurdle race. The Ontario junior also won the long jump with a 22-9.5 effort.
Delgado has the fastest 4A times in both hurdle events — and the best 4A long jump.
Baker’s Nic Maszk won both the 1,500 meters and the 3,000 meters, handing Crook County’s Grayson Munn a loss in each event — helping the La Grande scoring indirectly by denying event victories to the Cowboys in both races and costing the Prineville team four points in the team scoring race.
Baker team leads early
Baker actually led La Grande and Crook County early in the meet. After the first three boys events, Baker had 26 points, followed by Crook County (16) and La Grande (12).
Hancock’s win in the pole vault, with Caleb Woodworth and Colton Dunham tying for fourth, moved the Tigers into second place after four events. Baker still led with 26, while the Tigers had 23 and Crook County (18).
Baker still led Crook County and La Grande by a 42-40-38 margin after eight events.
It was Sofe and Ackerman taking second and fourth in the long jump that gave the Tigers the lead with 46 points — two ahead of Crook County and three ahead of Baker.
When Haynes and Henderson went one-two in the 400 meters, that jumped the Tigers’ point-total to 61, while Crook County had 48 and Baker with 45 points.
After 11 events, Crook County still trailed, but had cut La Grande’s lead to nine points — 63 to 54.
A two-four finish by Crook County in the 110-meter hurdles cut the lead to five after 12 events.
Ackerman and Michael Humber’s two-four placing in the high jump kept La Grande’s lead a little longer, but Crook County tied the meet after Luis Rivera won the 800 meters and the Cowboys narrowly picked up a fifth place.
Crook County took a one-point lead after the 200 meters when the Cowboys grabbed a fourth and La Grande settled for a fifth.
In the 300-meter hurdles, the Tigers grabbed the lead again (86-79) when Reed and Sofe took second and third.
It set the stage for the final event, the 4x400-meter relay.