EUGENE Seasides Brett Willyard can add his name to a short list of legendary North Coast athletes those who capped their high school careers as state champions on the same field where they would begin their college careers.
In 2008, Jordan Poyer led Astoria football to a state championship at Reser Stadium in Corvallis Poyers home field for the next four years.
Astoria thrower Laura Bobek won state championships in the discus and shot put in her senior year at Hayward Field, where she now competes for the Ducks.
And it was Willyards turn over the weekend, as the Seaside senior and future Oregon Duck prepared for the final two races of his high school career on the very same track which he will call home for the next four years.
It was pretty ideal. It was great, said Willyard, who won a state title Friday in the 3,000 meters, then saved his best for last. In Saturdays 800-meter final, Willyard won and broke a 27-year-old state meet record in the process, all on his new home track.
I couldnt ask for anything better, said Willyard, who will be wearing the green and yellow the next time he competes at Hayward.
It was just a fun experience, he said. Good weather, good races and just the crowd, and the energy you get from them. Thats always a big part of it, and makes you run a bit different.
Indeed, Willyard ran differently both days, as he pulled away from the field to win both finals.
As the defending state champion in the 3,000, Willyard made his move with 600 meters left, and won in eight minutes, 39.67 seconds, well ahead of a trio of Siuslaw runners for a coastal sweep.
I hadnt posted a good time this year in the 3K, and I knew all the other guys were cross country runners, Willyard said. So I was a little bit nervous going into the race.
And that feeling didnt stop on Day 2, going into the 800 final.
After the 3K, my legs were really tight, he said. So the second day, I stretched a lot. My legs were tight the whole way through, and I was probably more nervous for the 800, because I didnt know if I would have the kick at the end.
And for the record, Willyard never said he was gunning for the meet record in the 800, which was held by Astoria runner Phil Thompson, who ran a 1:54.08 in 1986.
But the announcers on the OSAA broadcast had somehow heard that Willyard had declared before the race that he was out to break record.
I never remember verbally saying that, Willyard said. It may have been in our heads for myself and my coaches, but we never really said it. I never said it to any reporters, at least.
It didnt matter, because Willyard had it covered.
He went out strong right from the start, separating himself from the pack and holding an all-out pace to the finish, where he was timed in 1:53.71, breaking Thompsons meet record.
I always feel like Im embarrassing myself if I set a good pace for the first lap, then cant hold it, Willyard said. I felt myself fading the last 200. I was just struggling to keep my form together, so I didnt slow down too much.
I really didnt have a goal of getting the record, he added. I just had the goal of running the best race I could. I knew my legs were tight, so if I was going to get a good time, I was going to have to take it beyond what I thought I could do.
Im just glad I got the record. That would have been embarrassing if I hadnt.
With Willyards two wins and a second-place finish for teammate Lucas Clark in the discus, the Gulls finished 10th in the team standings with 28 points.
Siuslaw won the boys team title with 60, followed by North Valley (56) and Cascade (55).
Clark had a personal best toss of 161 feet, three inches to take second in Fridays discus final, behind Justin Rich of Estacada (164-2), who uncorked his winning throw on his final toss.
On the girls side, the Lady Gulls racked up 19 points to finish 14th. Gladstone won the team title with 65 points, edging Newport (61).
Seaside sophomore Charlotte Blakesley took fifth in the 3,000 final Friday, crossing the line in 10:45.89, a new Seaside school record (breaking her own mark).
Astoria sophomore Kaisa Johnson was close behind, finishing sixth in 10:50.85 to score the lone points for the Lady Fishermen.
Blakesley returned on the final day and placed fifth in the 1,500-meter final in 4:49.92, also a school record.
Allison Kilday scored 11 points Saturday, finishing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.17, then just a few hours later she took fourth in the 300-meter hurdles in 46.84.
Both times were personal bests for the up and coming sophomore, who had also qualified (but did not compete) in the triple jump.
Elsewhere, Seasides foursome of Kilday, Bridgette Malone, Danielle Willyard and Kelly Willyard (three sophomores and a freshman), teamed up for an eighth place showing in the 400-meter relay final Saturday, finishing in a season-best 51.12.
The Astoria boys picked up four points Friday, when senior Levi Iverson finished fifth in the shot put final with a toss of 47-3 1/4, accomplished on his third throw. Molallas Zachery Farner won with a 51-7 1/4.
Seaside senior Danielle Fitts had the 10th-best mark in the shot put (34-11), and 11th in the discus (96-9); Kelly Willyard was 13th in the long jump, 14-3 1/2; and Astorias Theresa Spenner did not qualify for the 400-meter final.