EUGENE — Seaside senior Jackson Januik wouldn’t be denied in his quest for a repeat title in the 800-meter final at Saturday’s 4A state track meet at Hayward Field.
Januik took a crowded path to the front after getting stuck back as far back as sixth place coming off the initial turn.
“The race went out fast, but I knew it would come back to me,” Januik said. “The pack was spread out enough where I was able to move my way up.”
He came to the bell in fourth place and quickened his pace to join the contenders near the front. Coming along the back grandstands, Januik surged in front before the track curved into its final corner.
No one challenged him.
“I got to the backstretch and knew it was time to make my move,” he said.
Januik was comfortably ahead heading down the shaded straightaway, stretching his arms out wide as he came across the finish line with a winning time of 1:55.86 — more than two seconds faster than his winning time last year.
“That was awesome, even better than last year,” Januik said. “I’m so happy to be going out with a win.”
He is signed up to play basketball at George Fox University in the winter.
Other placers for the boys were Bradley Rzewnicki taking third in the 3,000, Juneau Meyer taking fourth in the 400 and Phoenix Johnson with a pair of third-attempt clearance to stay alive on his way to fifth place in the high jump.
Hoekstre scores big
On the girls side, the Seagulls’ Gretchen Hoekstre zipped to the top of the leaderboard in the shot put with a throw of 40-feet, 1.25-inches on her first attempt. She further distanced herself from the field with a throw of 41-5 when she next stepped into the ring — a personal best by more than a foot.
Her secret weapon — eating gummy worms before the competition. Her favorites are the green and pink watermelon worms.
“I came out strong and showed people that even though I’m a sophomore I could be competitive,” Hoekstre said.
Her mark would hold up into the final round of throws before Siuslaw senior Carissa Oliver took her last spin in the ring and unleashed a monster heave that had everyone in the area watching the tape measure in anticipation. The result was a throw of 41-7 3/4 that pushed her into first place.
Hoekstra had one try to answer back, but her final attempt came in a quarter-inch short of the 40-foot line leaving her in second place.
“It’s tough having the lead and losing it right at the end,” Hoekstra said. “But it had been the three of us all season, and we’re all friends out there competing in front of this big crowd — it was just a fun experience.”
Six throws landed beyond the 40-foot line with Hoekstra claiming two of those.
Hoekstre also finished third in the discus with a personal best of 130-7.
Gulls at Districts
ST. HELENS — The Astoria girls track team cruised to their third straight Cowapa League title May 12 in St. Helens, where the Lady Fishermen racked up 177 points for the three-peat, ahead of second-place Scappoose (170).
In addition to the win for the Astoria girls, the Astoria boys scored 129 points to take second behind the Indians (162), with Seaside (110) third.
North Coast athletes won 17 of the 34 total events, and qualified even more athletes with second-place finishes.
The Lady Fishermen dominated the girls’ meet from start to finish, winning seven of the 17 events.
The Seaside girls finished sixth in the team standings, with 50 points.
Gretchen Hoekstre provided the highlights, winning the shot put with a toss of 38 feet, 4¼ inches, and a personal best 123-8 to take the discus.
The Seaside boys did most of their scoring on the track.
Two-time defending state champion Jackson Januik started with a personal best 1:56.72 to win the 800 meters, where Januik held off Valley Catholic’s Jacob Godshalk (1:57.89). Januik heads to state with the top-ranked time in the 800.
Senior Bradley Rzewnicki was a state qualifier in the 3,000-meters, taking second (9:07.13) behind John Kavulich of Scappoose.
In the hurdles, Will Garvin suffered a disqualification in the preliminaries of the 110-meters, but as always, he came back strong in the 300’s, winning in a personal best time 41.13.
Senior Juneau Meyer qualified for state in the 400 meters (second, 51.53), and the Gulls added crucial points in the field with wins for Phoenix Johnson in the triple jump (40-3¼) and high jump (6-0), ahead of Astoria’s Karsten Johnson (5-10). Phoenix took second in the long jump.