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A long spring season has finally come to a head for the Taft High School track and field teams, and what’s left is a trip to the state meet this weekend at Mt. Hood Community College.

Prior to the state meet on May 17-18, the Tigers competed in the district meet at Dayton High School on May 7-8. The meet was highlighted with top tier performances from the Taft athletes that garnered a total of nine Tigers qualifying for state. As a team, the Tigers also took home a third place finish on the boys side and a fifth place finish on the girls side among the nine schools in the district.

Among the district champions were junior Kaden Wright in both the 100 and 200 meter races, junior Edson Fuentes in the 1,500 meter race, sophomore JJ French in the pole vault and junior Ella Knott in the girls javelin.

Wright was dominant in the boys sprints, clocking a 11.55 in the 100 meter finals and a 23.63 in the 200 meter finals to take the top spot in each. Fuentes had a huge personal record (PR) of 4:30.14 in the 1,500 while senior Micah McLeish finished in sixth in the finals. For French, his vault of 12-06 easily claimed the top spot in the boys pole vault, while senior teammate Jacob Mayoral had a PR of 11-00 to claim second place and earn a qualifying spot at state this weekend.

For the girls, Knott had a season best throw in the javelin of 117-09 to take first place and senior Savannah Russo finished third with a PR toss of 112-00. Although the top two at districts automatically qualify for state, Russo’s throw was among the top in the entire state, which earned her a wildcard slot and a trip to state this weekend.

The other automatic qualifier for the girls is sophomore Avery Nightingale, whose PR vault of 8-00 earned her a second place finish at districts.

Two other Tigers earned wildcard spots including senior Mad Scott in the javelin after finishing in fourth at districts with a throw of 156-07, as well as senior David Jin in the 110 hurdles, after he clocked a PR of 15.84 last week. Jin also had a fourth place finish in the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.23 and French was right behind him in sixth after a PR run of 44.67.

Other notable performances last week included freshmen Sam Cortes, who was fourth in the 3,000 meter race, junior Elin Fitch was third in the triple jump with a PR of 40-05.00, junior Sammy Halferty was third in the 200 with a PR of 28.12, fourth in the 400 with a PR of 1:04.84 and finally junior Autumn Ellis had a pair of fourth place finishes in the 1,500 and 3,000, highlighted by a PR of 5:28.01 in the 1,500.

Taft will leave for state this Thursday and will compete all day Friday and Saturday.

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