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Oregon Relays Recap

Updated: Apr 28

The Eaglecrest Raptors traveled to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the Oregon Relays April 19th-20th, 2024.



The Raptors shake out the day before competing at Hayward Field, 4/18/24


Thirty-four members of the Eaglecrest Track & Field Team competed at the iconic Hayward Field at that University of Oregon during the two day meet. Hayward Field is the site of the Olympic Trials, the IAAF World Championships, the NCAA Championships, Diamond League Meets, and many more of the top competitions in our sport. The University of Oregon allows this High School invite-only meet to take place each year during the high school season, and the Raptors were held in high enough regard by the meet organizers to secure an invite this season. Overall, 66 full teams competed in the meet, and Eaglecrest was the sole participant from Colorado. The meet is scored as combined gender (boys and girls points are added together), to create a true team atmosphere. After having an incredible 2 days of competition, Eaglecrest ended up placing 12th overall out of the 66 teams.



Ellie Shaw stands by the water hurdle at Hayward Field prior to running the Steeplechase, 4/19/24


On day one, Ellie Shaw became the first Raptor on the track at Hayward since our legendary relay team brought home two National Championships from the facility in 2022 (Akpokiere, Wilson, Gleim, Esser). Shaw had elected a few months prior to compete in the 2k Steeplechase at the Oregon Relays. As primarily an 800 specialist, who has even dropped down to the 400 multiple times this season, this was an incredibly brave choice by the Metropolitan State-bound Senior. She figured that she should give it a shot, since she will probably be called upon to run it during her upcoming collegiate career. A supporter of the program went to work in his garage and built a modified steeple hurdle so that Ellie could practice the dreaded water jump during our practices. This was done into the sand pit at EHS, as we do not have the requisite water pit that she would be facing at Hayward. The weeks leading into the meet involved hurdles being placed on the track throughout Ellie's normal distance workouts, as her teammates marveled at her combination of endurance and athleticism. When Ellie toed the start line in Eugene, her coaches all took a deep breath, as this was also the first time any of them had had an athlete entered in this event. Shaw, a two-year Team Captain, did not disappoint. Where many athletes would have wilted under the pressure of competing on the most storied track in the world in an untested and terrifying event, Ellie attacked the opportunity. After five laps and many jumps over hurdles and water, Ellie crossed the finish line at Hayward Field in an EHS School Record time of 8:28.82, and even more importantly showed all of her teammates both in the stadium and watching from home that a Raptor can do anything.



Kaitlyn Hendrian throws the Shot at Hayward Field, 4/19/24


Also on Friday, Noah Brown took to the track in the 100m dash, finishing 9th in a time 10.8 seconds, and also qualifying (via a 40yd split time) for Saturday's 40yd Dash Final. The boys 4x400 Team of Bryson States, Cam Chapa, Dionjae Ross, and Peace Warah ran our second best time of the season (3:24.48). Jaylynn Wilson ran the open 400m in a time of 59.57. Junior Kaitlyn Hendrian had a solid performance under pressure in the shot, tossing it 33-8. Senior Kael Weatherby also threw the shot that afternoon, going 46-4. The girls 4x400 team of Carlsen, Gaines, Ewing, & Wilson ran a season's best of 4:02.0, but were mysteriously disqualified for unspecified reasons, in what was certainly the most frustrating event of the meet.



Senior Peace Warah soars to a 4th Place finish in the Long Jump, 4/19/24


The Raptors had a big day in the jumps on day one as well. Peace Warah went 21-11 on his final attempt to secure a 4th place finish in the meet. Zenobia Witt battled through nerves as well as having to run a 100m Dash in the middle of her attempts to take 3rd place overall in the Long Jump. Witt also took 5th place in the Freshman 100m Dash. It was an impressive display of toughness and composure from the Freshman standout.



Freshman Zenobia Witt focusing in at Hayward Field, 4/19/24

The evening session on day one provided more fireworks for the Raptors, as two more school records were set. First, the Boys 1600m Sprint Medley Relay hit the track. Jeffery Poku (200m), Cory Jackson (200m), Thierry Asare (400m), and Evan Keppy (800m) combined to destroy the previous school record and take 4th in the Oregon Relays in a time of 3:35.85. Keppy brought it home in a scorching 1:59.55, the second sub-2 minute 800m of his life.



Keppy, Poku, Asare, & Jackson, EHS School Record 1600m SMR, 4/19/24


The girls 1600m SMR team of Tatum Gratrix, Janae Wilson, Olivia Sarmiento, and Ellie Shaw dropped the second fastest time in school history, running a 4:35.88. Sarmiento, traveling as an alternate, stepped up in a major way and ran the 400 leg (3rd), keeping her team in the race and getting it to Shaw, who brought the Raptors home to a 10th place finish in a stacked field.


Shaw, Sarmiento, Wilson, Gratrix, 1600m SMR, 4/19/24


The end of the night was dedicated to the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) at the mecca of Track & Field (as well as of distance running). The Raptors and the rest of the crowd looked on as the professional team from Brooks ("The Beasts"), completed their successful attempt at breaking the World Record in the event. It was an inspiring spectacle, and one that the Raptor Boys DMR would use to break a record of their own. The crowd at Hayward also got to watch as Olympic medalist and Oregon legend Raevyn Rogers opened up her Olympic season in the 800m, winning in a field of fellow professionals in a time of 2:02.


Brooks Beasts World Record DMR Team, 4/19/24


The Raptor Boys DMR team of Brady Hoffman (1200m), Jonas Cummings (400m), Gabriel Gutierrez (800m), and Cole Camp (1600m) came out blazing under the flashing lights and loud music blaring into the chilly Oregon night. When it was all said and done, the three seniors and one sophomore (Hoffman), had become the fastest foursome to ever run the event in Eaglecrest Red & Black. Their 11:03.05 was good for the EHS School Record, breaking the previous mark by nearly 18 seconds.


School Record DMR Team, Camp, Gutierrez, Cummings, Hoffman, 4/19/24



Day two, Saturday, was packed for the Raptors. Senior Savon Johnson ran lifetime top-3 time in the 110m Hurdles, as did Senior Rachel Carlsen in the 300m Hurdles (placing 10th). Peter Ames ran a lifetime best under stressful circumstances in the 300m Hurdles (41.64) after being told by an official that he was in a different heat than he actually was, and running to the start line just in time to get his blocks set before the gun went off. The composure showed by Ames was inspiring.


All four of our triple jumpers were in action. Aubrey Fritz and Zenobia Witt on the girls side, and Bezalel Tizazu and Savon Johnson on the boys side. Coach Bible's hop-skip-jump squad represented well, all jumping near their season's bests.



Bezalel Tizazu in the Triple Jump at Hayward Field, 4/20/24


In the high jump, Jayden Diggins cleared 6-0, not far off his PR in an impressive performance among a talented field of jumpers. The Girls 4x100 team (Gratrix, Witt, Gaines, Wilson) dipped below 50 seconds once again (49.61), and just missed making the finals. The ladies 4x200 also ran well given their heavy legs at that point in the meet, with Gratrix, Ewing, Gaines, and Wilson running a 1:45.03 with the unorthodox exchange rules in the meet.


Senior Jayden Diggins clearing the High Jump bar, 4/20/24


The boys 4x100 team won their heat of the prelims to make the vaunted final, and ended up finishing 8th overall in a blazing field. The Colorado number 1 team of Noah Brown, Eric Hill, Jeff Poku, and Peace Warah are excited to get back on home soil after this confidence boosting experience.



Junior Eric (EJ) Hill in the blocks for the 4x200m Relay, 4/20/24


The Boys 4x200m team of Hill, Poku, Chapa, and Warah brought home a 4th place finish among the mayhem of the unlaned exchanges practiced at the Oregon Relays. The fellas showed incredible composure and evidence that they had prepared in the process. In the Boys 4x800m, Asare, Gutierrez, Hoffman, and Keppy combined for a season's best (and EHS All-Time Top-10) time of 8:19.84.


4x800 of Asare, Gutierrez, Hoffman, & Keppy, 4/20/24


Shortly after the Boys 4x800 meter left the track, the Raptors put another 4x800 out there. This time it was comprised of two females and two males... the Mixed 4x800! Seniors Ellie Shaw, Jonas Cummings, and Cole Camp joined with Freshman Jenna Winn to set the EHS School Record in the event, running 9:19.56. Cummings and Camp were called upon to run the event as alternates on short notice due to the other 800 boys being worn out from their blazing relay just an hour beforehand. Camp, the Raptor stalwart in the 1600 & 3200m, cooked around the track for 2 laps in the unfamiliar event, splitting 2:04. Winn ran the leg of her life, splitting a 2:28, which was a 7 second PR for the young Raptor. Shaw once again brought her team home to the finish line, as she has reliably done throughout her whole career at Eaglecrest.


The end of day two under the lights provided a fitting end to an incredible experience for the Raptors. First, Noah Brown got to run the 40yd Dash Final, taking 2nd place and scoring 8 points for this team. After that it was time for the 800m Sprint Medley Teams to hit the track. This is an event that the girls in Colorado get to run each meet, but the boys rarely get a chance at. The girls showed up big, pulling in our last points of the meet in taking 7th. Giannah Bighorn, Amari Pickett, Tatum Gratrix, and Rachel Carlsen combined for a 1:54.49. It was the exclamation on a huge meet for Carlsen, who was able to run a 61 second 400m anchor leg after having already run 700 meters in the meet.


Senior Savon Johnson being introduced to the Hayward Field crowd, 4/20/24


After providing for the Hayward Field cameras the toughest introduction of the meet, Savon Johnson started if off for the boys despite a very sore ankle. After a smooth handoff to Cory Jackson and subsequent blazing straight run by the Senior, trouble arose on the corner. Just as Junior Burke Withycombe was beginning to accelerate to take the pass from Jackson, the 3rd leg from Long Beach Wilson (CA) bumped Withycombe and fell into the Raptors lane. What happened next will be remembered for many years in Raptor-land. Jackson, a UNC Football-bound defensive back, hurdled the runner from Wilson, being forced into the outside lane in the process, then quickly regained his balance and accelerated to get to Withycombe, who also made an incredible adjustment to get in position to receive the baton despite the egregious interference (the Wilson HS team was eventually DQ'd). Withycombe recovered and ran his best split of the year, getting it to Dionjae Ross who got the stick around the track in School Record time, breaking the previous record by over 3 seconds. The boys on the relay wondered what kind of time they could have run were they not interfered with, but everyone eventually came to the conclusion that this story was much more exciting to tell than having a somewhat faster time. This is also an amazing example of why we encourage multi-sport participation at EHS, as the two football players reacted with poise in an unpredictable competitive environment.


The fastest 800m Sprint Medley team in EHS History- Withycombe, Johnson, Ross, Jackson, 4/20/24

The experience that the Raptors had at Historic Hayward Field will be a memory that each of them treasures for a lifetime. The poise and love for their teammates and their sport that they displayed throughout the trip showed why this team has been on a meteoric rise over the past 3 seasons, and that they are here to stay.




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