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Sheldon's depth overcomes girls field.

Byline: Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

SPRINGFIELD - Erin Regali pored over the form chart on her clipboard, mentally pairing those marks with the ones she had just seen posted at the Midwestern League girls district track meet.

They matched closely. Not many pleasant surprises. Even fewer disappointments.

It was that kind of day for Regali and her Sheldon girls, the meet favorites who used a powerful display of depth - particularly in the throws and distance races - to score 158 1/2 points and win the team title Friday at Silke Field. South Eugene was second with 136 1/2 points, and Leah Worthen added two relay wins to her two individual titles to help Marshfield take third with 130 1/2 points.

Sheldon's entire team didn't win as many events as Worthen did. The Pirates won eight titles overall, South Eugene took four and the Irish had three. But Sheldon's team is deep, and that depth is talented, leading to the Irish placing three finishers in the top eight of five of the 15 individual events.

That's how it had gone all season for Sheldon, leaving Regali pleased, if not surprised, as the district meet concluded.

"If we did gain in anything, it might have been a place or two, but it wasn't anything real surprising," Regali said. "I just think the whole key to our girls team was we had good, talented girls, and we had depth. They learned from each other all year, they improved off each other all year, and when they came here they all seemed to be ready to go."

Emmy Greatwood gave the Irish their first title Wednesday in the discus, and they won twice more Friday. Greatwood's twin sister, Tessa, won the javelin title, and Nori Rice captured the 800 meters. Both events helped illustrate Sheldon's power - the Irish had three of the top eight finishers in each.

Rice won in 2 minutes, 20.03 seconds, and was followed closely by teammate Casey Masterson. Shortly after, Heather Spinney crossed the line seventh, giving the Irish 20 points in that event alone.

"It's great to have teammates out there," Rice said. "It feels really good to go 1-2."

Tessa Greatwood was leading the javelin into the final round, until Springfield's Stacie Bronson took the penultimate throw of the afternoon. Bronson threw 128 feet, 3 inches, an inch farther than Greatwood's previous best.

Unaffected by the pressure of the moment, Greatwood uncorked the winner on her last throw, an effort of 133-1.

"I thrive on having someone to beat," Greatwood said. "She put one out there, and I said, `OK, I've got to beat it.' '

Nobody beat Marshfield's Worthen on Friday. The sprint star, who is bound for the University of Oregon in the fall, defended her titles in the 200 and 400 and also anchored both victorious relay teams.

Worthen ran the 400 in 56.93 and the 200 in 25.03, just off her mother's district meet record of 24.3. Worthen now has 10 career district titles, and she has the easygoing confidence bred from such success.

"I'm not used to losing, by any means," Worthen said with a smile. "I expect to win every race I compete in."

Worthen's younger sister, Alison, won the high jump with a personal best of 5-5. The Pirates also got a victory from Kristen Johnson's throw of 34-11 1/2 in the shot put, giving them six titles Friday.

Among other winners Friday, sophomore McKenzie Mann captured her second straight triple jump title for Springfield, leaping 35-8 1/4 , and Thurston freshman Ashley Potter won the 100 hurdles in 15.92.

In all, underclassmen won 10 of the 15 individual events in the meet, including South Eugene junior Heather Bishop's defense of her 100-meter title in 12.57 seconds and a win by Axemen sophomore Nina DeHaas in the 300 hurdles in 45.81.

South's Erin Gray made it a double in the distance races Friday by adding a 1,500 title to the 3,000 victory she posted Wednesday.

As in the 3,000, Gray wasn't ecstatic about her time in the 1,500.

"Today wasn't so much about the win as the time," she said. "I've done the workouts, and I know I can go faster."

Gray won in 4:49.83 and said she hopes to shave as much as 15 seconds off that time next week at the state championships at Hayward Field.

CAPTION(S):

Marshfield's Leah Worthen is all smiles after breaking the tape in the girls 4x100 relay during the Midwestern League girls track and field championships at Silke Field in Springfield. Worthen won two individual events and anchored two relay victories for the Pirates. Collin Andrew / For The Register-Guard Collin Andrew / For The Register-Guard Sheldon's Nori Rice (right) finishes ahead of teammate Casey Masterson to win the 800 meters during the Midwestern League girls track and field championships at Silke Field.
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Title Annotation:Sports; Marshfield's Leah Worthen wins four events, but the Irish take the team crown
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 14, 2005
Words:822
Previous Article:Axemen have just enough.
Next Article:Wiechert rolls to Midwestern League tennis crown.


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