Cottage Grove, Pleasant Hill, Sports Zone, Springfield

Fast company: Billies’ Thomas sprints to title

EUGENE – Ryan Thomas, a sophomore for the Pleasant Hill Billies, claimed one of the marquee individual titles after pulling off an upset to win the Class 3A girls 100-meter dash at the Oregon School Activities Association State Track & Field Championships last weekend.

“I’m so excited. I’ve worked really hard for this moment, and I’ve been training for this for so long because I just recovered from an ACL tear during soccer (season),” Thomas said. “It’s really refreshing to be back at my ability that I was at a couple years ago so it’s really exciting.”

Thomas finished the 100 prelims with a time of 12.66 on Thursday – the second-best time in the prelims behind Ella Bulkley of Catlin Gabel, who came into the meet with the fastest time in 3A this season. Thomas came back on Friday and pulled off the upset, winning with a time of 12.49 and beating Bulkley by .07 seconds.

“I was so nervous. I’ve seen Ella Bulkley run before and she’s super good, so I was definitely nervous,” Thomas said. “The adrenaline just pushed me, though, and I got the win.”

PIERRE WEIL / THE CHRONICLE. Pleasant Hill’s Ryan Thomas flexes atop the podium after pulling off an upset win in the Class 3A girls 100-meter dash at the state championships.

Earlier in the meet, Thomas anchored Pleasant Hill’s 4×100 relay team to another upset. The Billies, with Dakota Hyland, Soleis Jones, and Jessica Clough racing with Thomas, set a  season-best time of 50.41 to finish 2nd in Class 3A. Thomas out-leaned Bulkley at the finish line of that race as well, as Catlin Gabel’s team finished with a time of 50.42.

“This whole thing was so cool. In the 4×1, we weren’t supposed to place as well as we did,” Thomas said. “Everyone just showed up and went all-out.”

Bengtson sets PRs, falls short of title

Carter Bengtson, a junior for the Cottage Grove Lions, helped lead his team to a 6th-place finish in the Class 4A team competition. Bengtson finished second in the 3000 and fourth in the 1500 – setting personal records in both races. Bengtson went into the 3000 finals on Friday morning as the favorite and beat his previous best time by 6 seconds but still lost to Newport’s Finn Collson, who beat his previous best by 10 seconds. 

“I was really hoping (Finn) would take it out, but he didn’t. I knew if I wasn’t gonna win it, I at least wanted to make it a fast race and see if he could stay with me,” Bengtson said. “Second is not what I wanted, but still, 8:37 – that was pretty close to the time I was hoping for. I still was pretty upset, but it was a great race and I am pretty happy about it.”

PIERRE WEIL / THE CHRONICLE. Cottage Grove’s Carter Bengtson (bib 457) races in the Class 4A 1500m last Saturday. Bengtson finished 4th in the race, and grabbed 2nd in the 3000.

Bengtson’s time of 8:37.77 puts him only 2.38 seconds behind the Cottage Grove all-time record, a goal he was hoping to achieve this season. While he didn’t reach that goal as a junior, Bengtson said it will no doubt fuel him this offseason.

“As soon as we’re done, I’m gonna go get some donuts, and then start planning summer cross country training because I want to make up for it during cross season,” Bengtson said.

Bengtson’s remarkable junior season finished with all of his track accolades, as well as: a state championship in cross country, a championship appearance in soccer, and a 6th-place finish at state in wrestling. Despite all of the junior year success, Bengtson’s focused on the next chapter.

“I feel like I’ve made some pretty big jumps this year. I feel like I should be really excited about it, but honestly, I don’t have time to,” he said. “I have to keep focusing on the next part, which right now is summer training. My next goal is the state meet in cross country six months from now.”

Thurston’s Anderson takes 2nd in 100

In the Class 5A girls competition, the Thurston Colts followed up two straight 3rd-place team finishes in 2022 and ‘23 with a 7th-place finish this season – led by sophomore Brooklyn Anderson. Anderson finished second in the 100, seventh in the 200, and anchored the 8th-place 4×100 relay team.

“I’m very proud of myself. I put in a lot of work this season, so I’m really glad about the outcome,” Anderson said, noting that her gymnast background helped calm herself during the state meet. “I was an ex-gymnast, and so a lot of it I’m used to. I’m used to being on stage and having a lot of people watching me, so that really helped me out a lot.”

BOB WILLIAMS / THE CHRONICLE. Thurston’s Brooklyn Anderson with her 200m medal.

Anderson came into the meet with a 100-meter personal record of 12.32 and nearly broke that time in the prelims with a 12.35. In the finals on Saturday, Anderson ran a new PR of 12.25 to grab 2nd place behind back-to-back champion Pharalynn Dickson of South Albany. 

“Going into prelims, I was really motivated. And then going into finals, I was really hungry for it – I really wanted it,” Anderson said. “My goal was just to basically just follow the people in front of me, if not get past them. And I PR’d, by a lot, so I’m super happy.”

Also … 

Cottage Grove boys finished 6th at state thanks in part to junior Hayes Valley, who finished 2nd in the 110m hurdles and 7th in the 300m hurdles. Eli Williams took 4th in the shot put and discus for the Lions. Sophomore Makya Alsup finished 2nd in the javelin to grab the only podium spot for the Lion girls.

Creswell finished 15th in the girls competition, led by freshman Jordyn Lee and sophomore Kylie Leonard. Lee finished 6th in the 400m and 7th in the 200m while Leonard grabbed 2nd in the 300m hurdles and 8th in the 400m.

Pleasant Hill was tied for 9th in the Class 3A girls state competition. Sophomore Soleis Jones finished 4th place in the 400m for the Billies. Senior Zachary Seratte was the only podium finisher for the boys, taking 5th in the high jump.

Springfield scored 10 points on the girls side thanks to a 3rd-place finish from freshman Sailor Hall in the discus and a 5th-place finish from junior Liz Hirschbach in the long jump. Senior Owen Fuller led the boys with a 7th-place finish in the 800m.

Thurston seized 7th in the Class 5A girls team competition as senior Bailey Tovey finished 3rd in the shot put and javelin. Sophomore Addison Nelson chipped in as well as she finished 6th in the high jump and 7th in the long jump. For the Colt boys, junior Tyler Raven took 6th in the triple jump and 7th in the 110m hurdles.

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