Corvallis High has captured five consecutive Mid-Willamette Conference girls track and field district titles, but the Spartans’ journey for a sixth will be more difficult than expected.
The Spartans were already going to have to figure out how to replace Justine Feist, who was a district champion in the 800 meters, 1500 and was the lead in Corvallis’ 4X400 relay team. CHS is also now without top runner Mylene Gorzynski, who suffered a knee injury while playing soccer last week.
Gorzynski is not expected to return for the remainder of the season.
“Losing her really hurts, but someone else is going to have to stand up. We’re just going to have to do it,” CHS coach Mark Hulburt said.
Having to make up for Gorzynski’s absence in the sprints will be a team effort according to Hulburt, but the girls leading the way are Daniela Taylor and Josee Pearlson.
Corvallis’ depth was tested even further in its home MWC dual meet with Crescent Valley on Wednesday as Pearlson missed the meet due to illness, leaving Taylor by herself in the 200.
CV swept both meets, winning 77.5-47.5 on the boys side and 76-67 in the girls meet.
“Josee, when she’s here, is going to be up there but it’s going to be interesting.” Hulbert said. “We’re not really training for these meets, we’re just trying to get these kids into shape. In a week or two, they’re going to be running faster.”
Taylor was working to adjust to more of a prominent role on the sprints with a third-place finish in the 200 and came in fourth in the 100.
“We’re all going to have to increase our workouts. For me personally, it’s my first year doing track so being thrown into varsity in my second meet was a little intense,” Taylor said.
The 4X100 relay team finished in 58.01 seconds.
Even with the personnel losses in the sprints, the Spartans still look to take their sixth straight league crown.
The Spartans swept the long jump, led by Clea Poklemba’s 15 feet, 7inches, and took the top two spots in the high jump.
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Lily Beck showed she is still one of the better field athletes in the conference as she won the shot put with a 34-11 and the discus with a 105-11. Ellie Harding took second in the discus at 93-8.
Despite not having everything at their arsenal, Hulburt isn’t interested in waiting for next year for his young team to develop.
“I don’t have time for next year.” Hulburt said. “I want to be ready now. We’ve won five straight and I really thought we were going to win this one, but it’s going to be tough.”
The boys are also going to struggle with depth in the sprints as they round into form this season. Led by returning 200 district champion Hunter Mattson, Corvallis cannot afford to miss when it comes to the sprints.
“We want as many sprinters as we can because those are our weakest events on the boys side,” Mattson said.
One of the sprinters who will be joining Mattson on the boys side is Austin Wheeler.
Wheeler is coming into his junior year for the Spartans and missed last year’s district finals by .25 seconds.
“We’ve got to work hard because we only have two major sprinters so we’ve got to compete against teams that have three or four,” Mattson said.
Natalya Corbitt factored into 15 points for the Raiders as she won the 100, 200 and was the opening leg in the Raiders’ 4X100 team which topped CV’s second-place team by nearly 3 seconds at 51.79.
The boys looked strong and will only get stronger as the season moves on.
Talanoa Hufanga is recovering from injury and was running with the junior varsity in the sprints. His finish at 11.8 in the 100 would have been good enough for third place at the varsity level.
In the throws, Will Macy finished first in the discus at 124-8, eclipsing his next closest competition by more than 14 feet. Macy also finished second in the shot put behind teammate Kaimana Wa’a.
Wa’a’s best throw was 42-4.