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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation June 18, 2018

5/23/2018 8:14:00 AM
Pollard shines at State track meet
Jordan Pollard is state champion in the 1,500 meters. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Jordan Pollard is state champion in the 1,500 meters. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Charlie Kanzig

Stepping to the starting line for the 1,500 meters on Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Jordan Pollard knew he owned the fastest time of the season among 4A runners at 4:01, but that there was another runner on the track who would do everything possible to beat Pollard. That runner, John Kavulich of Scappoose, won the 4A cross-country title over Pollard in November by blasting from the start, daring everyone to chase him. Pollard could not make up the gap and finished second.

Pollard turned the tables this time as Kavulich chose to keep things under control. Pollard didn't want a slow pace, so he kept things honest for 900 meters at which point Kavulich and another runner passed him.

"When they passed me with 600 to go I wasn't worried," said Pollard. "I decided to stay with Kavulich until the final 100, knowing I would be able to out-kick him."

Pollard's confidence was justified as he shifted gears and crossed the line in 4:03.68 to Kavulich's 4:04.31. Kavulich had won the 3,000 meters Friday morning, while Pollard's double was yet to come about 90 minutes later in the 800 where once again he was the guy to beat.

But it's a tough track double to carry out, especially if other runners have fresh legs, which was the case as junior Connor Hathaway of Gladstone pulled off the upset winning with a career-best time of 1:57.81. Pollard finished third at 1:58.45, right on the heels of Shane Davis of Yamhill-Carlton who clocked 1:58.45. Pollard and Jake Healy of Mazama, who finished sixth, were the only two 800 finalists who also ran the 1,500.

Pollard was not quite finished collecting medals, however, as he had three teammates, Korbin Sharp, Hayden Sharp, and Brody Anderson to join for the final running event of the meet: the 4x400-meter relay. What a barnburner it turned out to be!

Korbin Sharp started things off and ran a strong leg before handing off to his brother Hayden, who briefly took the lead in the second lap. The Outlaws stayed in second place through the third leg, run by another frosh, Brody Anderson. Pollard took the baton for the anchor leg and battled, but the team ended up in third.

The winner, La Grande, finished in 3:26.13, Crook County snagged second in 3:26.49, and Sisters clocked its best time of the season at 3:26.98.

"Those guys gave it their all and the race could not have been more exciting," said Head Coach Jeff Larson.

On Friday, sophomore Garrett Kersavage made it to the awards stand with a tie for eighth place in the pole vault by clearing 11 feet 6 inches. The winner, Chase Howerton of Marshfield, soared 14 feet 6 inches.

For Larson the state meet included two facets. One was witnessing Jordan Pollard achieve his dream of being a state champion. "Once a state champion, always a state champion," he said.

The other was seeing the younger athletes on the team experience the state meet. "All of the other qualifiers will be back next year and they got to see what they need to do to be a factor at the state meet in 2019. We had numerous boys there watching who were learning and preparing themselves to compete at the state level next season," he said.

The site of next year's meet has not yet been determined as Hayward Field is getting a complete overhaul in preparation for hosting the 2021 World Track and Field Championships. The final competition at the current facility will be the NCAA Championships set for June 6-9.

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