GRESHAM — Sunitha Black and Madeline Nason continued the momentum that has carried them through a strong track and field season thus far, and they aren’t finished.
Black was second and Mason third with new personal bests in Friday’s 5A girls 3,000-meter final at the OSAA state meet at Mt. Hood Community College.
A Crescent Valley sophomore, Black held contact with eventual winner Frances Dickinson of Hood River Valley for as long as she could before Dickinson pulled away in the last lap. Dickinson, a junior and the reigning cross-country state champion, finished in 10 minutes, 12.83 seconds.
Black, sixth in the race last year, set a PR for the second straight meet in 10:19.44 after winning the Mid-Willamette Conference district title in 10:23.98. Nason, a Corvallis freshman, crossed in 10:23.0, a new best by just less than a second.
“I think it went real well. I PRd. I’m happy. I feel like the season’s been really great for me,” said Black, who will join Nason and fellow 3,000 finalist Isabella Ayala of Lebanon in Saturday’s 1,500. “I didn’t think she was going to get me in the end, but it was a good race.”
Nason, the district 1,500 champ and 3,000 runner-up, was with the lead pack until Dickinson and Black began to pick up the pace and pull away with about 600 meters left.
“I felt like it was a pretty good race for me. I was able to PR,” Nason said.
West Albany junior Annie Berry was sixth in 10:32.96, a personal best by more than five seconds and a time 28 seconds faster than she ran in 2018.
Lebanon senior Ayala, who missed the 2018 track season with an injury, was ninth in a personal-best 10:55.98.
West Albany senior Alyssa Walls delivered her best javelin throw of the day on her last of three attempts in finals to take fourth at 122 feet, 4 inches.
“I was trying to figure out my steps the entire time,” she said. “Then on the final one I was like ‘you know what. We’re going to pick up the speed, we’re going to try and go’ and then it worked.
She jumped ahead of North Salem’s Kiara Ballard in the process. Walls said she was pleased with fourth place because of the strength of the field. Silverton’s Riley Traeger was the winner at 138-9.
Saturday, Walls has the shot put and discus, where she’s seeded second in both based on season-best results. She said she was able to put a little more energy into the javelin because it was her only event of the day.
“This is the one, if I have it on a double day (at state) a lot of the time it runs pretty close (to another event),” she said. “It was definitely nice to take a step back and just focus on this.”
In the long jump, Corvallis sophomore Ellie Hintzman was sixth (16-2¼) and Crescent Valley sophomore Jada Foster 11th (15-6¾).
In the 800 preliminaries, CV senior Geneva Wolfe started fast and finished fourth in a close heat in 2:20.01 — just off her personal best of 2:19.78 — to qualify for Saturday’s final.
“She’s used to running multiple races through the season, stuffing those meets back to back,” Raiders coach Tyler Bushnell said. “If anything, I think that’s going to be a nice confidence boost, a season-best time wise and running with those top girls. Hopefully we can feel that snowball into even better things tomorrow.”
West Albany’s Sienna Higinbotham also qualified for the final in 2:23.67 a PR.
Teammate Emily Stefan made finals in the 100 (12.92) and 200 (26.81). West’s Bethany Marteeney (400, personal-best 1:01.08) and Corvallis’ Wendy Hare (100 hurdles, 16.34) qualified as well.