BY THE SLIMMEST OF MARGINS

Enterprise's Shelby Moncrief, right, barely defeats Grant Union's Kaylee Wright in the 2A girls 100. (Ronald Bond, The Observer)

A state championship secured by a fraction of a second from an athlete who barely qualified for state. A Herculean effort from a second individual who had to overcome food poisoning just to compete. A crucial victory in a relay race over a district rival. Continued dominance in a second relay race.

These are just a few of the myriad of elements that fell in place in order for the Enterprise Outlaws girls track and field team to finally get what has eluded it for years — a state trophy. But the Outlaws didn’t just get any trophy. They grabbed the state title.

Enterprise swept the relays, added a vital win in the 100 and had numerous key efforts to edge Grant Union by a mere half point — 64.5 to 64 — to win the 2A girls state championship at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

“They rose up for two days in a row,” longtime EHS head coach Dan Moody said. “I was hoping we would be in the trophies, and then everything started falling into place.”

And it all happened, no less, at Moody’s alma mater.

“I’m just so happy. This is the best last high school meet I could ask for,” said senior Karli Bedard, who ran a leg on the winning 4x400 relay and placed in two additional events. “It’s Moody’s first award (for the girls track team), and we got first place. He’s always going to remember this day and remember our team.”

“I knew we could do it,” sophomore Kyla Hook added. “We were so determined to do it, and I knew we would all put in our part, and that we wanted it that bad.”

Senior Shelby Moncrief’s victory in the 2A girls 100, which proved to be one of the most crucial wins, may have also been the most unlikely. She qualified for state as a wildcard and was seeded ninth entering the event.

But she took second during the preliminary round Friday before running stride for stride and edging Grant Union’s Kaylee Wright by the slimmest of margins — one one-thousandth of one second. Moncrief completed the race in 12.749, with Wright coming in at 12.750.

“Kaylee always pushes me, and I’d like to thank her for that. That’s the reason I did so well,” Moncrief said.

It wasn’t the only time she edged Wright, though she had some help in the other race, as the Outlaws’ 4x100 team of Hero Peters, Savannah Vaughn, Ashlyn Gray and Moncrief ran a flawless race to win in 50.99 seconds over Grant Union on Saturday — beating a team they had been aiming for since state a year ago.

“I knew once I got it to Shelby it was going to be good,” Gray said of the opening relay.

“The amount of points we got getting first is great (and) started us off on a good foot,” Peters added of the relay win. “Just glad we beat Grant Union (in the race).”

The early victories by the relay team and by Moncrief Saturday helped set the stage for a strong afternoon and evening on the track. Only 1.5 of the Outlaws’ points came in field events when Bedard tied for seventh in the high jump Friday at 4 feet 8.

The finale was capped by the team of Vaughn, Hook, Bedard and Moncrief winning the 4x400 relay in 4:14.23 for an Outlaw three-peat in the event.

The Outlaws also got a second-place and fifth-place finish from Hook in the 3,000 (10:54.85) and the 1,500 (5:06.35), respectively; a fourth-place showing by Bedard in the 300 hurdles (49.69) and by Peters in the 100 (13.08); a fifth-place effort by Ashley Wilson in the 800 (2:30.48) and by Vaughn in the 400 (1:01.68); and a sixth-place finish by Moncrief in the 200 (27.55).

Hook’s second-place finish in the 3,000 Friday was in a race against Bandon’s Holly Hutton that came down to the wire. The two were never separated by more than a second until the very end when Hutton distanced herself for the win.

“I knew it was going to be a fight. I’ve been ranked first and she’s been ranked second. we’ve been a second apart this whole season,” said Hook, who added she was also running for her dad, Justin, two years after his passing, the anniversary of which fell on Saturday.

Vaughn, a freshman, turned in her performance in the relays and the 400 after getting food poisoning the night before during a team dinner. Her status to compete was uncertain until warm-ups on Saturday.

“Dealing with (Friday) night and still being able to do this is phenomenal,” Moody said. “This girl came out of nowhere, and look where she is at.”

Vaughn said it wasn’t until she ran her leg of the 4x100 that she felt she was okay.

“(Saturday) morning I felt like I couldn’t even run, but I didn’t want to let the team down, so I pushed through it,” she said, adding that, “winning helped.”

The Enterprise girls team has in recent years been painfully close to getting on the podium — including sixth a year ago and fifth in 2017.

Now, the Outlaws aren’t just on the podium, they are on top of it.

“We went into this wanting to get Coach Moody a girls trophy. He’s never gotten one before,” Moncrief said. “For it to be first place is amazing. That was a lot of motivation.”

Added Moody: “This is something they wanted to give me, which makes it special for me, more than anything. But these kids, they responded, they don’t complain, and they are special to me. This is probably the most fantastic trophy I’ve had in my hand.”

EHS boys take sixth, earn 4x100 relay sweep

They had just witnessed the Enterprise girls win the 4x100 relay and wanted to follow suit.

The members of the Outlaws’ boys relay team — Shane Lund, Foster Hobbs, Jericho Peters and Garrett Thorne — did just that, and the victory in the relay helped lift the Enterprise boys track and field team to a sixth-place finish at the 2A state meet this weekend in Monmouth.

“I was really thinking about the girls. They had an amazing start, and I felt like I needed to replicate that, I needed to have just as good a start,” said Lund, who started the relay. “To have a dual state championship with our girls is outstanding.”

The relay team completed the race in 44.73 seconds, edging Central Linn by 0.20 seconds and scoring 10 of the 35 points that resulted in the Outlaws taking sixth.

Three of the four — Lund, Peters and Hobbs — later teamed with Austin Brockamp to take sixth in the 4x400 relay in 3:37.62.

But it was the 4x100 relay win, right on the heels of the girls’ win minutes earlier, that had head coach Dan Moody fired up after the team mobbed him on the track infield.

“Oh my gosh, you guys ate them up! The girls set the tone! Oh, man!” he said to the foursome.

Hobbs had a big day in addition to the relay win, taking second in the 2A boys 400 in 50.81 seconds and seventh in the 200 in 23.80. Relay runners Thorne and Lund also made the podium individually, with Thorne taking sixth in the 100 in 11.64 seconds and Lund seventh in the 400 in 53.42.

Contributing to the Outlaws’ 35 points, freshman Zac Knapp took third in the 3,000 in a time of 9:11.60 and Colby Harris added an eighth-place finish in the triple jump with a mark of 39 feet 9.

East Linn Christian was the 2A boys team champion with 72 points.

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