By Katy Nesbitt
Wallowa Valley Online
JOSEPH, Ore – Joseph High School’s girls’ track team brought home the gold this weekend winning the 1A Oregon state meet.
University of Oregon’s Hayward Field – the track where dreams are made and running legends trod, was the backdrop for the school’s first state track victory, but it wasn’t without it’s drama.
John Roberts, Joseph Track coach said, “It was a nail biter until the very last leg of the 4×400 relay.”
In track, that means the very last event of the entire meet – like bull riding at the end of a rodeo. The Joseph Girls 4×400 team won the event and earned the final points necessary to clinch the state title.
Roberts said, “I knew it would be close, but I didn’t know it would come down to the last point.”
Joseph girls compiled 70 points, squeaking by Griswold High School’s 69 points.
Joseph High lost a pole vaulter and a javelin thrower when the class of 2015 graduated, Roberts said, but most of the team was intact. He said some strong freshman girls came on the team to add to the talent – notably Haley Miller and Ella Coughlan.
Miller won the 1,500-meter in 4:58 and the 800-meter in 2:27. Coughlan took sixth in the 3,000 finishing in 11:55.
Junior Isabelle Tingelstad had the best day of her track career with two personal records. She won her second state title in the 3,000-meter with a time of 10:52 – shaving 17 seconds off her 2015 time of 11:09.
In the 1,500 Tingelstad took third to Miller in a time of 5:08, one second faster than her third place 2015 finish in 5:09.
Tingelstad is an old hand at state completion – her first all-state meet was in 2013, her freshman year. She followed up that appearance with two medals at the 2014 state track meet taking second in the 3,000 and fourth in the 1,500.
Junior Annie Duncan put points on the board each time she stepped to the line at the state track meet. She placed sixth in the 100-meter race in 13.34 and fourth in the 400-meter in 61:88, just shy of her personal record of 61.82.
Duncan took sixth in the 300 hurdles in 50:51 and anchored the girls’ 4×400 state winning team, helping clinch the final points necessary to win the meet.
Her mental aspect is why Duncan is the 4×400 anchor, Roberts said.
“She ran her leg in 59 seconds,” Roberts said. “She’s a head hunter. She’ll run them down, if she has to, if they are in striking distance.”
The team was 20 to 30 meters behind the lead team when Duncan got the baton, Roberts said.
“She caught up pretty easily,” Roberts said.
The rest of the 4×400 state champion relay team were Miller, Tingelstad and Johnelle Suto.
There were a few disappointments to go along with the victory. Roberts said
the 4×100 team didn’t have a finishing time due to a bobbled hand-off.
On the field, Ally Cooney placed 12th in the javelin with a throw of 80’6”, eighth in the triple jump, with a distance of 31’ 8.25”, and fourth in the high jump with a height of 4’11”.
Roberts said Cooney was a little let down in the high jump, two inches shy of her district jump of 5’1”.
All of the girls that made it to state put points on the board and as for any slight disappointments in the day’s performance, Roberts said, “I told the girls that had a bad state meet, ‘If that’s the worst thing you have to go through, then you are doing all right.”