EUGENE — Brandon Pollard could not help but break down.
After four long years, after fighting through more injuries than any high school athlete should suffer, the Sisters senior raised his arms toward the sky as he crossed the finish line of the boys 800-meter race at Hayward Field. Finally, he was a state champion.
“It just feels so amazing to be able to come back after all this and do what I was dreaming of for the last four years,” said Pollard, who by his count has battled seven different injuries during his high school career. “Especially after the 1,500.”
Pollard took second in the 1,500 meters on the final day of the Class 4A track and field state championships. And in the awards tent, his body punished him.
“After my 1,500 I threw up about five times,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh man, there’s no way I’m going to feel good during this 800. But the last (200 meters of the 800), I was like, ‘Aaaahh, I want this so badly.’”
Despite all the injuries, despite his unpleasant experience after the 1,500, Pollard never doubted he would get to this point. He always had his eyes on the end goal — a state title. And he came through, winning the 800 in 1 minute, 57.69 seconds.
“It’s such satisfaction,” Pollard said. “Knowing it’s my senior year, being at the top of the podium … I can never really say that I’m completely satisfied after one of my races, but knowing it’s one of my last races I’ll ever run in high school, I can say that I am satisfied and just so happy that I was here.”
Jake McAllister finished seventh in the 300 hurdles and tied for eighth in the high jump for the Outlaws, who finished 15th in the 33-team 4A boys standings with 20.5 points, just behind Ridgeview (14th with 21 points) and Crook County (10th with 24 points). Madras was 30th with four points. North Bend won its first team state championship with 51 points, edging Hidden Valley by one point.
The Ravens, who placed third in the 1,600 relay, were led by Cody Simpson’s third-place showing in the triple jump. Also for Ridgeview, Caleb Ronhaar was seventh in the high jump, and Seth Andres finished eighth in the 110 hurdles.
Michael Seyl took third in the 300 hurdles for Crook County, which was fifth in the 1,600 relay. Grayson Munn placed seventh in the 1,500 for the Cowboys, and Sam Santiago was seventh in the 400. For Madras, Drake Anderson placed fifth in the high jump.
Summit finished fourth with 37 points, ending the Storm’s three-year run as state champs. Bend High was 11th with 26 points, and Mountain View took 13th with 23 points. Marist of Eugene topped the 33-team standings with 67 points.
Summit’s Calvin Aylward improved his personal best in the javelin by nearly three feet on his way to a first-place finish with a throw of 192-7. Matthew Maton had the other Storm victory, winning the 1,500 in 3:53.08 — beating his own state record from a year ago by more than two seconds.
“It feels good,” Maton said. “I’ve worked for it. I’ve put in the work. But it’s always something special when you get to win it.”
Michael Menefee was fifth in the high jump for Summit, which finished eighth in the 400 relay, and Alex Martin took seventh in the 1,500.
For Bend, which was third in the 400 relay, Joel Johnson took second in the pole vault, and Caleb Hoffmann placed second and fifth in the 800 and the 300 hurdles, respectively. In the 800, Hoffmann’s time (1:53.31) would have beaten the previous state meet record by 2.5 seconds. Instead, the Lava Bear sophomore settled for a runner-up finish.
“That is definitely one that I came out feeling like a champion, for sure,” Hoffmann said. “It’s one of those bittersweet moments but at the same time very, very sweet. I just had so much energy. I was amped for the next race.”
Dantly Wilcox took second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 110 hurdles for Mountain View. Also for the Cougars, Sam King was fifth in the 800 and Gabe Wyllie finished seventh in the 400.
Redmond’s Jacoby McNamara was eighth in the 200, while fellow Panther Kyle Tinnell placed second and seventh in the 100 and the triple jump, respectively.
“Today, coming out with second place (in the 100),” Tinnell said, “it feels amazing.”
—Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com.