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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region boys track & field: Landon Kelsey, Ridgefield

Three-sport athlete said most fun he had all year was with track and field

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 12, 2023, 9:02pm

Landon Kelsey waited until the last possible day — down to the hours and minutes, in fact — before deciding to turn out for Ridgefield High’s track and field team this spring.

“It was a last-minute decision,” Kelsey recalled. “I didn’t even go to the first day of practice.”

He had no intention of doing any spring sport for the Spudders. Instead, he planned to shift energy and effort solely to off-season work in preparation for another football season.

Looking back on that last-minute choice, Kelsey, The Columbian’s All-Region boys track and field athlete of the year, is sure glad he changed his mind.

“That was probably the most fun I’ve had all year,” he said.

Kelsey was the only Clark County male athlete on the podium four times at the Class 4A, 3A, 2A state track and field championships: third in the long jump (21 feet, 4.25 inches), fourth in the triple jump (43-8.50), fifth in the 300 hurdles (40.94 seconds), and eighth in the 110 hurdles (15.87).

Kelsey is a three-sport athlete for Ridgefield, and admits track and field ranks third on the list behind football and basketball. Yet track and field runs deep in his family, especially when it comes to hurdles. That’s what Kelsey’s main-event focus was until he entered high school.

Not anymore.

“I definitely wanted to be a hurdler that jumped, but I think I turned out to be a jumper that hurdled,” the sophomore said.

Kelsey surprised himself not only with his spring season as a whole, but also his performance at state. It began by leap-frogging from eighth place to third on his final jump in the long jump finals to open the state meet, then closed it out with a personal-best time in the 300 hurdles. Kelsey reached the podium alongside teammate Isaiah Cowley in both hurdle finals.

“It was surreal. I was expecting to at least get to the podium for two events, but not four,” Kelsey said. “So those are just pretty crazy to me. It definitely felt good.”

Officially, Kelsey’s career at Ridgefield has come to a close after two years. He is transferring to Portland’s Central Catholic High, which is an Oregon 6A powerhouse in football. He said he still aims to be a three-sport athlete there, too.

Kelsey is a strong proponent of athletes who partake in multiple sports, and track and field has its own benefits.

For starters, Kelsey said, “I think this is the best I’ve ever felt.”

He also added learning to power run has already made a big difference for his primary sport — football — where he’s a standout at receiver.

All because he elected to come out for track and field this spring at the last minute.

“I felt faster from power running, just pulling my legs,” Kelsey said. “That’s probably the big takeaway from track is power running. I never really knew how to use my legs to run, but now, I’ve got the idea of it now.”

Rest of the All-Region boys track & field team

Josiah Alanis, Evergreen: Owned the region’s top long jump mark this spring. Placed fourth at 3A state meet (22-0).

Arthur Ban, Evergreen: High-jumped a personal-best 6-4 to earn fifth place at 3A state meet.

Revac Banfield, Columbia River: Registered the region’s top 100 time (10.67); had fourth place 2A state finishes in the 100 and 200.

Grayson Caldwell, Union: Repeat All-Region pick in the 400 meters after consecutive podium finishes at 4A state meet.

Isaiah Cowley, Ridgefield: Podium finishes in both hurdles races at 2A state meet, including runner-up time in the 300 hurdles (39.31).

Ryan Faumuina, Fort Vancouver: One of four regional athletes to surpass 50 feet this spring (51-10.50). Placed third at 2A state meet.

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Davari Gaurer, La Center: Had top-3 times at 1A state meet in the 100 (11.11) and 200 (22.30). Ran a personal-best 10.80 to win the 100 district title.

Chase McGee, Camas: 4A GSHL field MVP had a personal-best 14-9 to place second at 4A state in the pole vault.

Tony Peonio, Kalama: Class 2B pole vault champion’s mark of 14-6 would’ve placed third at 4A state meet.

Sam Sheppert, Skyview: Made the most of his first 4A state meet: placed fifth in the 800 (1:56.96).

Jared Williams, Camas: Owned 4A’s top javelin mark this spring (183-3). Placed second at 4A state meet.