Athletes ready for pressures of Hayward

LINCOLN COUNTY — At 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, the Taft track and field athletes loaded into a bus to begin a 113-mile trek from Lincoln City to Eugene. On the other end of that drive is Tracktown, USA and the iconic Hayward Field — the host of the past three Olympic track and field trials and numerous U.S. track and field championships. For three days it will serve as the host of the Oregon high school state championships. Taft went down a day early to scope the facility and test out the track that they will compete on over the weekend.

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Arce-Torres’ final run

This year, on any piece of paper that he could find, Gabe Arce-Torres scribbled a note to himself that would serve as a constant reminder. “It didn’t count unless you do it twice.” Taft’s senior sprinter was referring to repeating as the 3A 200-meter champion. A year ago at Hayward Field, Torres capture the title with a time of 22.47. But he wanted another one. All was well for Arce-Torres in the preliminary rounds of West Valley League district track meet this past weekend. He posted the top times in the 100, 200 and the 400. He was even on pace to set a personal record in the 200, his strongest event before he felt his hamstring tighten up in the final 20 meters.

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Hatton makes it 4 top-10 finishes

BANKS — At the conclusion of the OSAA 4A/3A/2A/1A state golf tournament, Taft’s Maya Hatton found herself in a familiar spot — near the top of the tournament leaderboard. Hatton capped off her high school career with a fourth-straight top-10 finish at the Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks. She shot aN 85 the first day and aN 87 the second day to finish 28 over par, good for tenth place in the 70-plus player field. “The first day I played really well,” Hatton said. “I had literally only one bad hole and it cost me about six strokes. But other than that, my first round went really well. The second day I played I played with girls who shot 40 strokes higher than I did so it was hard to stay focused. My second-day scores were only two strokes higher, but it felt a lot higher.”

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4 straight for Cubs

For the fourth straight year, the Newport boys track and field team captured the Oregon West Conference title. With a combined score of 256, no team came within 100 points of the state runners-up from a year ago. It’s the second year in a row that the Cubs have finished with a 100-plus point cushion. “I was really happy from our sprinters, to our distance runners, to our throwers to our jumpers,” said head coach Kurt Hargett. “I just thought we had a great meet.” What’s the secret recipe that has turned the Cubs into a track and field juggernaut over the past four years?

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Playoffs begin for Newport baseball and softball

NEWPORT — Thursday, May 17 the Newport softball and baseball teams will put their respective seasons on the line in the play-in round of the 4A OSAA state tournament. With 16 wins, a top-16 ranking and an outright second place finish in the Oregon West Conference, the Cubs softball team was guaranteed a postseason berth. They will host Marshfield at 4:30 at Yaquina View Elementary. While the softball team had its postseason locked up with several games left on the schedule, the same couldn’t be said for the Newport baseball team. Entering the final game of the regular season, the postseason fate of the Newport baseball was still very much in the air. Due to the team bus breaking down on the way to face Stayton the season’s last game was delayed, by the sixth inning word had gotten to head coach Ken Riley that all the seven-win Cubs club needed to punch their postseason ticket was complete the season sweep of the Eagles.

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Round Up: Waldport sends 13 to state

It comes as no surprise that Waldport’s Addison Stephensen dominated the Sunset Conference district meet. The senior won each of his four events — 100 meters (11.73) discus (126 feet, 10.75 inches) long jump (20 feet, 6.75 inches) and triple jump (41 feet, 3 inches) — and qualified for the state meet. What may be surprising is the depth that the Irish track team showed during the Sunset Conference district track meet on Saturday, May 12. Waldport had 20 members compete in the two-day meet. Of those 20, as many as 17 could compete at the state meet, and 13 have already qualified. Freshman Lillian Simon finished first in the 200 with a time of 29.17. Dylan Yakes won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 18.52 and Chas Walch cleared 4 feet, 8 inches to win the girls high jump. Also, qualifying was Yakes in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 46.13, Daniel Alvarado in the discus with a toss of 119 feet, 9.5 inches, and Ceirra Topete will also compete at Hayward field in the shot put after a 29 feet, 5 inch heave.

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McLane sweeps both hurdles

The difference in expressions between Cascade’s Faith Craig and Newport’s Izabella McLane as they both crossed the finish line in the 100-meter hurdles couldn’t have been more different. Craig, a senior, was ecstatic, having clinched a spot at the state meet. McLane, on the other hand, walked off the track with the look of someone who had just missed out on standing atop the podium. But then something dawned on her. “At first I thought that she won,” McLane admitted. “But then I thought there’s no way, I don’t know why I thought that.”

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Bulter makes it official, signs with Southwestern

SILETZ — Three hats — a Southern Oregon University, Clackamas Community College and Southwestern Oregon Community College — were waiting to be picked up. In front of a packed gym at Siletz Valley, senior Isaac Butler grabbed the black and red Southwestern hat and placed it on his head. He then signed his letter of intent to wrestle for the community college 111 miles from Siletz in Coos Bay. The school’s first-ever state champion wrestler became the first Siletz Valley athlete to sign to compete in a sport in college. “I remember coming here my freshman year and saying that I wanted to compete in college, I want to win a state title,” Isaac Butler said. “I never thought I would be the first one to complete it, but now I’m here in this position and it feels amazing.”

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Hatton breaks two school records, Taft, Waldport advance to state

LINCOLN COUNTY — Heather Hatton, Taft’s golf coach, couldn’t help but get teary-eyed as her daughter walked off the 18th green on the final day of the district tournament on Tuesday, May 8. In 36 holes, Taft’s Maya Hatton took down two school records at her final district tournament as a high school golfer. The College of Idaho commit shot the school’s lowest score for a two-day tournament at Santiam Golf Course and became the first Taft golfer to win three consecutive district championships. “As a mom and coach I’m still in awe of what I witnessed the last two days from Maya,” Taft head coach Heather Hatton wrote to the News-Times. “I’m also so over-the-top proud of my team putting together a team score day (two) 26 strokes better than day (one) with a 380. That is in the top 5 all-time best team scores in school history.”

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300 for Coach Riley

In 2002, two games into his head coaching career, Newport head coach Ken Riley thought he was going to get run out of town after starting his debut season with two straight losses. The first victory of his career came in game No. 3, an 8-6 win over Reedsport. “I still have the game-ball, it was a special day,” Riley said. “I don’t remember a lot of them, but I remember the first one.” Sixteen years later, and Riley still hasn’t been run out of town. A 10-4 victory over Stayton on Tuesday, May 7 wasn’t just a win that kept the Cubs’ postseason hopes alive — it was Riley’s 300th win of his career at Newport. “300 just means that you’ve coached a long time,” Riley said, “and I have. I guess it’s a neat number to get to, a major league pitcher wants to get to 300 wins. I know it’s a neat deal and one day I’ll look back and say it was a neat deal.” To be in position to get to 300 this year, the Cubs would have to win two of their final three games coming off of a 17-day break from action, last playing on April 19. Typically, Riley is not a fan of the long hiatus, but as the Cubs entered a must-win series the extended break allowed the team extra time to practice and heal — specifically, junior pitcher Jacob Dobmeier. “After the Cascade series my shoulder had a little tendonitis so it was bugging me,” Dobmeier said. “I went to physical therapy, took a break (from throwing) and now it’s feeling good.”

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The Fish is safe in Toledo

For the second straight year, The Fish will reside solely in Toledo. With an 8-4 victory in the season-annual “Fight for the Fish” over Waldport on Friday, April 4, the Boomer softball team ensure that The Fish won’t leave Toledo. “It feels super good to know that we are working together,” said junior first baseman Jenny Elmore. “The Fish has been here for two years and that means that we are doing something right. This group of girls works through all the sport so we have this bond that will never go away.” Unlike the first-time matchup between the Sunset Conference rival schools, when the Boomers handed the Irish an 11-run loss in early April, Waldport had a two-run lead entering the bottom of the fourth inning.

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Cubs walk off, clinch playoff berth

NEWPORT — A soft line drive into center field from senior Sophie Dziak drove home Jewlz Wagner and gave the Newport softball team a 5-4 walk-off victory over the Cascade Cougars on Monday, May 7. Dziak drove the second pitch she saw into the outfield despite feeling a bit of nerves when she first stepped into the batter’s box. “I was really stressed out,” Dziak said on the game-winning hit. “Hitting is all about clearing your head, and I was able to do that, and I think that’s why I hit the way I did.” Wagner set the table for Dziak with a one-out double in the seventh inning. Wagner would then steal third even though she got off to a slow start. “Honesty I thought I was going to be out because I didn’t get a good jump off of second,” the senior center fielder said. “But when I saw the ball go over the third baseman’s head I was like, I gotta go home.”

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Additional Articles

  • Column: Nine questions heading into track districts

    Track — like cross country, swimming, wrestling and golf — all comes down to one final competition: the district meet. All the eggs are in one basket. It doesn’t matter if you ran a sub-10-second 100 meter during a meet or heave a shotput a quarter-mile. If you don’t show up at the district meet, none of that matters. And in Oregon, the stakes are even higher: have a top-two finish and you get the chance to race in Track Town, USA and share the same track Olympic track athletes have competed on, that has to be in the back of each track athlete’s mind this weekend. Here are the nine questions that I have going into the district meets this weekend:

  • Column: After 34 years, Tigers claim league title

    It was a long time coming for Taft to capture a baseball league title. Thirty-four years, to be exact. The Tigers were out of patience. So much so that they clinched the West Valley League title with a 5-1 victory over Santiam Christian on Friday, May 4 and still have two more league games to play. “It’s weird that we have two games left and we are league champs,” said senior Jack Stemple, the winning pitcher in Friday’s championship-clinching victory. “We still have the district championship to look forward to, but we need to take it one game at a time.” Hardware will be added to the school’s trophy case and a banner will be added in the gymnasium. It’s a season that’s been in the makings for several years. “Coming up the last three seasons that’s been the goal — win league, get the title, put ourselves in the best situation for the state playoffs,” said senior Josh Salsbery. “To make that come true up to this point in a great feeling.” In league play, the Tigers have been the hot knife and everyone else has been the butter. With two games remaining the Tigers have a perfect 10-0 record and have outscored their opponents 133-4. “Baseball is a game where you need to have the confidence or else you aren’t going to make it very far,” Salsbery said. Coming off of last season, when the Tigers won their first playoff game in nearly half a century, the confidence was already pretty high. But for a team that had only three seniors, four juniors and six underclassmen, this type of dominance was a bit of a surprise. “I knew at some point it would be there, I just didn’t think it would be with this group of guys,” Salsbery said. And when a team has a pitching staff is putting up numbers the way Tigers have, the type of numbers that I’m sure would impress Clayton Kershaw. In league play the combined ERA of of 0.67. There isn’t a team in 3A with the blend of pitching and offense that Taft had through its first 21 games of the year, and in WVL play it’s only more impressive. Taft pitching has combined for six shutouts, allowed only four runs against league opponents and hasn’t allowed more than one run in any of its contests.

Video News

2018 Oregon West Conference Track Meet (Saturday

The Newport Track and Field team hosted the Oregon West Conference district meet on Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12. The boy's team finished in first place and the girl's team finished third. Newport athletes will compete in 22 events at the state meet at Hayward Field in Eugene starting Friday, May 18.