The lightning flashed and the skies threatened, but it didn’t stop the Enterprise/Wallowa girls track team from bringing home its first 2A state championship.
It was a shocking finish, decided by a razor-thin margin.
When the dust and clouds cleared, the girls had edged out nemesis Grant Union by a half-point, 64.5 to 64.
Coach Dan Moody was pleased with his first team championship.
“It was a very spectacular meet,” he said. “There could have been two teams with 64 points and us with 64.5; that’s how close it could have been.”
Both the girls and boys teams traveled to Western Oregon University in Monmouth on May 17-18 for the meet.
Shelby Moncrief roared out of the gate for the 100 meters race, running a personal record 12.75 time and smoking all-comers. Hero Peters clocked in at fourth place with a 13.08 time. Moncrief also placed sixth in the 200 meters. Savannah Vaughn clocked in with a 1:01.46 time in the 400 meters for fifth place while Ashley Wilson ran a 2:30.48 for fifth place in the 800 meters.
Kyla Hook ran a 5:06.35 for fifth place in the 1500 meters race and ran a season record 10:54.85 time for the silver in the 3000 meters. Karlie Bedard ran a season record 49.69 for fourth in the 300 meter hurdles.
The relay teams let their star shine with the 4x100 team of Peters, Vaughn, Ashlyn Gray and Moncrief besting Grant Union by .18 of a second with a 50.99 time for the gold. The 4x400 squad of Vaughn, Hook, Bedard and Moncrief also took the gold home with a 4:14.23 time.
The boys had a successful meet as well with a sixth place finish of 35 points. Garrett Thorne took sixth in the 100 meters with an 11.64 time. Foster Hobbs ran a blistering 50.81 for the silver in the 400 meters while Zac Knapp brought home the bronze in the 3000 meters with a 9:11.60 season record time for him.
The 4x100 relay team of Shane Lund, Hobbs, Jericho Peters and Garrett Thorne let the rest of the competition eat their dust as they blazed their way to gold with a 44.73 time. While the 4x400 squad of Lund, Peters, Austin Brockamp and Hobbs cruised in at sixth place, with a 3:37.62 time.
Colby Harris placed eighth in the triple jump with a 39-09 leap.
According to coach Dan Moody, the meet was a nail-biter from end to end. He said everyone in the first-day preliminaries scored points for the squad and everyone in the preliminaries made it to the finals.
”You knew we had a really good chance at some points after that, and they didn’t let us down,” Moody said.
Particularly rewarding was edging out nemesis Grant Union for the championship. Moody said it was a long time coming.
”It was definitely the girls’ goal to beat them in the short (4x100) relay,” he said. “They’ve been beating us all year, but we kept getting closer and closer to them and what better place than the state meet to do it?” Moody noted that the boys squad ended up beating Culver in the relay, something they’d hoped to do from the beginning of the season.
”To start the running events out with two victories kind of set a tone for the meet,” he said. “The kids kept going and they didn’t back off.”
The coach noted Moncrief’s .001 second win in the 100 meters race after only qualifying at District as a wild card. He added that their district secured the top four places in the race. As a team, the ladies went down to the wire before they knew they’d won while the boys just missed fourth place trophy by three points.
”It would have been really great to bring home two trophies, but the boys did really great for two days,” Moody said.
Other athletes Moody pointed out for performances were Hook and Savannah Vaughn for their maturity. Ashley Wilson’s performance in the 800 meters was mentioned as was Garrett Thorne in the 100 meters.
”They all had to do a great job,” he said.
Moody said the championships were good for more than his combined team. He said the entire northeastern region made their presence known to schools on the west side of the state. Still, he was proudest of his first team championship trophy.
”It was very special for me and this bunch of girls,” he said. “It’s a neat thing to have, and I’m so proud of them.”