Eugene — Talk about sweating it out to the last minute! There’s nothing like the taste of your first state title, let alone one that was decided by the near slimmest of margins and came down to the final event of the evening. For the Nyssa Bulldogs, this particular scenario became reality in Eugene on Friday night, as they trailed St. Mary’s Medford entering the 4×400 relay race as the final event of the 3A state championships. The Crusaders led 70 to 63.5 over Nyssa, requiring the Bulldogs to finish with a state runner-up or state title to win the 3A title for the first time. Would they crack under the pressure or have ice in the veins?
Through the first two cycles, Sutherlin had pulled away from the pack and Westside Christian was ahead of Nyssa by a half second margin. However, Kate Vineyard dug deep and made a stride for the runner-up position, passing Westside Christian’s Charlotte Friend to setup a showdown between Gracie Johnson and Natalie Fagen for the runner-up position. For Johnson, this one lap stretch was the difference between a blue trophy and a silver one coming back to Nyssa. She had just enough speed to hold off Fagen, taking home second with a half-second margin over Fagen. More consequently, the eight points that they received from the event put them at 71.5 points for the meet, passing the Crusaders by a slim 1.5 point margin and getting them their first state title in school history over the private school powerhouse.
On the overall scoresheet, these two teams rarely wavered from each other in many event comparisons. If one of them did better at one event, the other one would simply make up for it in a different one. Every point does count at the state championships, and that two-point pickup by Marly Ausman in the shot put for Nyssa looks pretty significant in the bigger scope, as it could’ve fell them a half-point short of a state title without it. Sidney DeBoer did all that she could for the Crusaders, putting up a massive 36 point performance for St. Mary’s Medford, along with Mackenzie Walker’s 23 point contribution to the fight. However, Nyssa’s complete team performance in the most team oriented event on the track was simply too much to overcome.
Here are the Top 5 from the 3A State Championships:
- Nyssa: 71.5 points, First Title in School History
- St. Mary’s Medford: 70 points, 2nd runner-up
- Sutherlin: 60 points
- Cascade Christian: 58 points
- Catlin Gabel: 57.5 points