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Area athletes take titles at Hayward.

Byline: Paula Lincoln The Register-Guard

Local athletes had a field day at the 28th annual Track City International Classic at Hayward Field on Saturday.

Tyler Poppe of Churchill, the reigning Class 4A high school state champion, cleared 6 feet, 8 3/4 inches to win the young men's high jump title.

Track City's James LaCoste jumped 19- 3/4 to win the youth boys long jump for his second victory in two days.

Track City's Emmy Greatwood (121-3) and Tessa Greatwood (113-8) went 1-2 in the young women's javelin.

And 12-year-old Javan Gray added a victory in the shot put (43-3 1/4 ) to Friday's discus win.

Those were just some of the highlights on the second day of the three-day meet, which resumes at 9 a.m. today and concludes with the 4x400 relay, which is scheduled to start at 3:45 p.m.

Poppe, who trains with Jim Mitchelmore and was competing unattached, came up just short of matching the PR of 6-10 he gained two days earlier in an all-comer's meet.

"I'm kind of tired from that. Two meets in three days and my legs didn't have anything left, so it didn't work out," said Poppe, who was a last-minute entry. "I saw in the paper that you could enter on the day of the meet, and I signed up yesterday at 1:30."

Poppe said he attempted 7-0 at the all-comer's meet.

"I think I can get it," Poppe said. "It was there. I'm hoping. You gotta have confidence."

Lake Oswego's Wes Collett, who finished in a tie for second at state, was second in a field where five jumpers cleared 6-6. Saturday was the third straight time that Poppe had beaten Collett after six losses in the past two years.

Poppe wasn't the only local state champion in Saturday's high jump final. Creswell's A.J. O'Connell, who won the Class 3A title with a mark of 6-2, failed to clear that height and finished sixth in the young men's division.

O'Connell, who has been invited to walk on at Oregon, had been hoping to break Creswell's school record of 6-8 as well as his PR of 6-6.

"You know every jumper has a bad day and this was one," O'Connell said. "You just put it behind you as soon as possible and look forward. I like to think that high jumping is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. It doesn't matter how good your legs, you can't clear a mediocre height if your head's not into it."

O'Connell, who competes for Track City, will take another shot at the school record in Thursday's all-comer's meet at Hayward Field.

"I'd really like to crack that 6-8 barrier," O'Connell said.

Gray, a seventh-grader at Thurston Middle School who competes for Emerald Valley Track Club, broke his PR of 42-10 in the shot put to beat Brandon Hill (38-2 1/4 ) of Oakland's 3M Track Club.

It was their third duel of the meet, as Hill beat Gray in Friday's javelin competition and finished second to Gray in the discus.

Gray took a preliminary-best mark of 38-1 into the final round where Hill - throwing seventh to Gray's eighth - unleashed a 38-2 that immediately preceded Gray's winning mark.

"He put a lot of pressure on me," said Gray, one of four Emerald Valley athletes who will travel to Indianapolis later this month to compete in the Junior Olympics. "He beat me in the turbo javelin - I choked really bad - and he holds the meet record in the bantam boys (shot put)."

Other local athletes who placed among the top two included Pre Track Club's Joshua Frasier, who was first in the boys intermediate 800 (1 minute, 59.97 seconds); Damaris Tucker, who was second in the long jump (17-2 1/4 ) and third (5-2 1/4 ) in the high jump; and Toma Starodubseva, who was second in the young women's 800 (2:27.38).

Meet records were set in both the young women and intermediate girls hammer throw, where Team Thor's Daniella Thor (164-2) and Camas Hammer Team's Gabby Midles (137-6) won their respective divisions.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 17, 2005
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