Evergreen, Flanagan athletes qualify for Jr. Olympics nationals

Track club members earned spots with big regional results

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



The Evergreen Storm Track and Field Club has 10 regional champions and qualified 15 athletes for the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics national championships.

During the USATF Region 13 Junior Olympics, Storm athletes qualified for the nationals in 29 events. The regional meet took place July 7-8 at Summit High School in Bend, Ore.

Also at the regionals, nine members of the Woodland-based Flanagan Clan Girls Track Club qualified for the nationals, two of them with Region 13 championships. And several other area individuals also advanced to nationals.

Region 13 includes all of Washington and Oregon and the panhandle of Idaho. The top five in each Region 13 event qualify for the USATF National Junior Olympics to be held July 23-29 in Baltimore.

Cassie McKinney of the Evergreen Storm won three races in the girls 15-16 age group. She finished first in the 1,500 meters (5:10.54), the 3,000 (11:28.18), and the 2,000-meter steeplechase (7:50.10).

The Storm’s Keaton Spiller won the boys 15-16 800 (2:01.19) and the steeplechase (7:01.96) for Evergreen Storm. Spiller also place third in the 1,500.

Miguel De La Mena finished first in the boys 13-14 1,500 meters (4:36.19) and the 3,000 (10:21.25). He also took third in the 800.

Also in the boys 13-14 age group, Evergreen’s Ethan Tonder won the javelin (165-3) and placed second in the shot put.

The other Evergreen Storm regional champions were Jacqueline Purwins in the girls 11-12 high jump (4-9), and Kayden Gonzales in the boys 7-8 shot put (17-1).

For the Flanagan Clan Girls Track Club, Gabby Bender won the 400-meter hurdles race for girls ages 15-16 with a time of 1:12.99. Teammate Rachel Willson was second in that race.

McKenna Flanagan won the mini-javelin throw for girls 11-12 with a mark of 107 feet, 4 inches.

Other Flanagan Clan athletes who earned the opportunity to compete at nationals should they choose were Amelia Renner (ages 9-10 shot put and mini-javelin), Emily Vermeulen (ages 11-12 mini-javelin), Megan Shubert (ages 13-14 pole vault, Shelby Vermeulen (13-14 shot put and discus), and Kelsey Newburn (ages 15-16 2,000-meter steeplechase).

Other Clark County regionals champions included Caleigh Lofstead, who won the girls 13-14 pole vault by clearing 8 feet. She trains with the Willamette Striders Track Club in Oregon City and will be a freshman at Camas High School.

Other Evergreen Storm athletes who recorded top-five finishes to qualify for the national meet were: Bailey King boys 13-14 discus; Marcus Gaylor boys 17-18 100 and 200 meters; Kyle Gonzales in the boys 13-14 400 and long jump; Ryan Gunther in the boys 15-16 400 hurdles and high jump; Annika Collins in the girls 13-14 javelin; Cody Laxson in the boys 11-12 long jump and 100; Ryker Gilbert in the boys 17-18 discus; Will McKinney in the boys 11-12 high jump and 3,000; and Evan Yackell in the boys 15-163,000.

According to Scott Slamp, director of the Evergreen Storm, six Storm boys plan to travel to Baltimore for the nationals. They are Spiller in the boys 15-16 division, De La Mena, Kyle Gonzales and Tonder in the boys 13-14 division, and Kayden Gonzales in the boys 7-8 division.

Locals shine in Eugene

Bailey King of the Evergreen Storm Track Club won the shot put and the discus events at the 32nd Track City Classic held on Saturday and Sunday at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field. His marks were 42-10 1/2 inches in the shot put and 154-3/4 in the discus.

Also for the Vancouver-based Storm, Grayson Anderson won the high jump for boys 17-18 (6-8 1/2), and Jacqueline Purwins won the high jump for girls 11-12 (4-5).

The Flanagan Clan Girls Track Club of Woodland had four champions at the Track City Classic. In the ages 15-16 division, Kelsey Newburn won the 2,000-meter steeplechase in 8:33.78 and McKenzie Arnold won the discus with a mark of 64-10. In the 11-12 age group, McKenna Flanagan won the mini javelin (98-6). In the 9-10 age group, Amelia Renner won the 6-pound shot put (20-7 1/4).