Against some of the best competition the Pacific Northwest has to offer, the Gig Harbor High School track team took third place at the Oregon Relays at the University of Oregon’s iconic Hayward Field over the weekend.
On the girls side, junior Hannah Carroll continued her stellar season, taking first in the 400-meters with a time of 55.21 seconds, a personal record. Carroll also placed fifth in the 200 with a time of 26.07.
Gig Harbor’s 4x100 relay of Maya Hodder, Hannah Carroll, Ashley Aldridge and Tatum Griffin took fifth at 50.09, while the 4x400 relay of Griffin, Hodder, Madison Bonham and Carroll took sixth at 4:07.43. In the shot put, senior Hadassah Ward took second, throwing 13.10 meters.
On the boys side, Gig Harbor posted impressive results . Junior Jurrian Hering took first in the 100-meters, clocking in at 10.81 seconds. Hering also took second in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.62, a personal record.
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“It went really well,” Hering said. “I couldn’t ask for a better result.”
Running in front of thousands of fans at Hayward Field, where some of the world’s top track and field athletes have competed over the years, made it even more special.
“Running in a stadium with thousands of people in the stands, that’s amazing,” Hering said. “Being in the same lane that professional athletes have run on, that’s a cool feeling, too.”
Taking the top spot in the 100-meters is something Hering won’t soon forget.
“It was really cool breaking through that tape at the finish line, seeing the camera focused in on me on the big screen,” Hering said. “I had done everything correctly and was able to get the result I was hoping to get.”
Senior Peter Smith took first in the 800 at 1:52.53, a personal record. Junior Bradley Peloquin took fifth in the 1,500 meters at 3:59.57, and third in the 3,000 meters at 8:35.11.
Gig Harbor’s 4x100 relay of Ryan King, Jurrian Hering, Taggert Hudson and Kellen Gregory took fifth at 43.14, while the 4x400 relay of Gregory, Peter Smith, Ian Steuk and Mark Kimball took fifth at 3:26.71.
For senior Kellen Gregory, it’s his first track season and first time participating in the relays.
“It reminded me of a Friday night (football game),” he said. “It was like a Fish Bowl. Big stands, packed. It’s surreal standing in the tunnel out there.”
While the results are nice to see, in the bigger picture, Gig Harbor coach Kevin Eager wants the team to use the big-time environment as preparation for the state meet.
“The kids get themselves there,” Eager said. “We don’t take a bus. That’s what do for state, too. If you can get yourself to Eugene and get on time, getting to Mount Tahoma (High School) isn’t that hard. The mental, emotional part of it — I want them to get to the state meet and go, ‘OK, well, I’ve been where they run the Olympic trials, I can handle the state meet.’”
The team tried their best to treat it like any other meet.
“The Oregon relays are definitely our testing grounds for how we’re going to react at state,” Hering said. “(Eager) definitely wants to put us under some pressure to expose our flaws, so we can do well at state.”
All in all, it was a resounding success for the Tides.
“We were really happy with how we performed,” Hering said. “Now our focus is trying to replicate that success and win state this year.”
Gregory agreed with his teammate’s sentiment.
“Oregon Relays is fun but it’s just another practice to get ready for state,” Gregory said. “Get all your flaws out of the way. When we get to state, you’re ready for all those people in the crowd, not getting nervous. Those meets are scary at first, but like a Friday night, as time goes on, you get used to it.”