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Pirates vault to top of heap.

Byline: Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

For all of the great pole vaulters to compete at Marshfield over the years, the Pirates have never enjoyed a day quite like Friday.

Vaulters from the Class 5A school in Coos Bay went 1-2 among both boys and girls as Marshfield stormed into the lead in the two team races of the OSAA track and field championships at Hayward Field. Neither lead seems likely to hold up through today's final session, but for at least one day the storied venue - and particularly the pole vault runway - belonged to the Pirates.

On the girls side, Marshfield also got 10 points from Alison Worthen's second straight high jump title. Thurston is third in the girls race, after Tauni Powell followed teammate Ashley Potter's triple jump win Thursday with a victory in the javelin Friday.

The pole vault standings mirrored the Midwestern League district results from a week earlier. Amber Wiley edged Moriah Roberge with a win at 11 feet, 9 inches, based on fewer misses, while Andrew Simpson went 15-4 to finish first ahead of teammate Greg Eckes.

Wiley's win gave the Pirates three girls titles in six years, after Moriah Roberge's sisters, Celina and Muriel, won 4A crowns in 2002 and 2005, respectively. Last year, Muriel Roberge was second at state after winning her fourth district title, while Wiley was fourth at state.

But Friday, Wiley stepped out of Roberge's considerable shadow by following up her district win with a state championship.

"It was really nice to be able to come in and jump and be me," said Wiley, a senior.

"Not Muriel's teammate. Not the other Marshfield girl. I was Amber Wiley."

Wiley came into the meet concerned about her chances after a subpar week of practices. She missed her first attempt at 11 feet Friday, while Roberge made it on her first try, putting Roberge into the lead based on fewer misses.

Had Roberge matched Wiley by clearing 11-9 on her first attempt, she might have won the family's third state title. But it took her two tries, and neither jumper cleared 12-1, making Wiley the champion.

"She came up and said, `Congratulations,' ' Wiley said. "I said, `Wait a second, I just won!' '

Simpson won Marshfield's first boys pole vault title since Trevor Woods took back-to-back 4A crowns in 1999 and 2000. Simpson and Eckes each cleared 14-6, but only Simpson was able to get over 15-0 and then 15-4, each on his third attempt.

Simpson was bothered at times by a headwind, but invigorated by the success of the Marshfield girls.

"Watching them both go 11-9, it's amazing to have one girl do that, let alone two at the same school," said Simpson, who was third in Class 4A last year.

Shortly after Wiley's win, Worthen became the lone entrant to clear 5-6 in the high jump, 2 inches above her winning height from last year's 4A state meet. Before that third-attempt clearance at 5-6, Worthen had already clinched the title over Sherwood's Frances Pavao based on fewer misses.

"I knew that and I was happy, but I'm not satisfied by winning on fewer misses," said Worthen, a junior who is the favorite in today's 300 hurdles final. "You want to be able to win it and say you really did jump higher."

The boys high jump featured one of the day's most electric moments, as 5-foot-7 junior Billy Butler of Hillsboro took three attempts at a state record of 7-3 3/4 after winning the title with an all-classifications state-meet record of 7- 1/2 .

Butler missed on all three, but said he'll try again to break the state record at a meet in Seattle in two weeks.

"Now that I've had three more jumps at it, I feel a lot more confident," Butler said.

Like Worthen, Powell also posted a winning mark on her final attempt. Needing to surpass the 136-11 throw of Eagle Point's Alyssa McClellan, Powell unleashed a heave of 139-4 to win the title.

"I was really nervous but trying to calm myself down as much as I could," Powell said. "I was still a little nervous, but that helps because you get that extra adrenalin."

Springfield's Kelly Egan nearly gave local athletes a sweep of the girls finals Friday, staying on the heels of Crescent Valley's Courtney Gardner in the 800 until falling back in the final 200 meters.

Gardner, a converted soccer player who took up track two years ago and the 800 this year, posted a 3-second PR of 2:16.89, with Egan second in 2:18.79.

"She had a good sprint at the end, and I had some tired legs," Egan said.

In the boys 800, Alex Ringe of Hermiston won in 1:56.57, with Thurston's Lukas Fenley third. The Colts also got a third-place finish from Brian Keebler in the javelin, an event won by Wilsonville's Jesse Staub after a throw of 191-3.

OSAA STATE TRACK AND FIELD

Today at Hayward Field: Finals in the field events start at 10:30 a.m. Finals on the track begin at noon.
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Title Annotation:Sports; 5A: Marshfield leads both races after 1-2 finishes in pole vault
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 19, 2007
Words:851
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