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About Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current | View Entire Issue (May 7, 2021)
PAGE A20, KEIZERTIMES, MAY 7, 2021
Whiteaker, Claggett conclude track season
It didn’t matter that team scores weren’t
kept as Whiteaker and Claggett Creek
Middle Schools track and ﬁ eld teams sea-
son came to an end on Thursday, April
29th. What did matter was that an outdoor
track and ﬁ eld sports season was had at all.
The Keizer middle schools were allowed
to compete in head-to-head fashion in
two of their three dual meets this season.
Athletes, coaches, parents and staﬀ mem-
bers created top-notch meets, which were
held at McNary High School, and the per-
formances of the athletes didn’t disappoint.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and metrics,
the track and ﬁ eld season had many hur-
dles and turns to make it a success.
“There were many days that we would
just have to pivot with the team, adjust,
and respond to the frequent changes to the
guidelines, ” said Brad Kilgroe, Whiteaker’s
head coach. “Literally, every week new
rules and guidelines were given to us, and
we rolled with it.”
Luckily, middle school kids are resilient
and handled adversity well.
“Beginning at practice with the kids
reminded me that, as long as they didn’t
cancel our season, any change was doable,”
Claggett Creek head coach Lisa Nichols
Each team had a decline in numbers
due to the pandemic but that didn’t slow
“Smaller team size did not stop our
athletes from representing our schools
in as many events as possible. Athletes
were challenged by coaches to participate
in events they would normally not have
tried. Athletes always responded with ‘yes
coach,'” said Nichols.
Although the dual meets weren’t oﬃ -
cially scored head-to-head, all Salem-Keizer
middle schools uploaded their results into
a large “city-meet” style database, where
athletes and families could see their results
in their respective events compared to all
other athletes, grades and schools across
the city and state..
“We strongly believe that being
involved in track and ﬁ eld makes you not
only a better athlete but a better person,”
Kilgroe said. “No doubt in my mind that
every athlete improved since the start, but
we were led by a strong seventh grade girls
group, who collectively have all the tools to
make a great team.”
After all the scores were uploaded
throughout the city, Whiteaker’s girls
4x100 meter team (Rylie Smith, Savanna
Walker, Kalo Utaatu, and Allie Mansur)
emerged with the best overall time (56.54s)
in the city as well as the best time in the
girls 100m sprint (13.84s) champion in
Other outstanding ﬁ nishers at
Whiteaker included Savanna Walker, Kalo
Utaatu, and Bella Lucas (top 10 in the
200m), and Jocelyn Schnurbusch was a top
ﬁ ve ﬁ nisher in both the 800m and 1500m
Claggett Creek’s Asia St. John won the
city title in the girls shot put with a toss
of 34-feet-9 inches. Other notable ﬁ nish-
ers for Claggett Creek were Ashley West
(top ﬁ ve for the 100m) and Andrea Maciel
Rodriguez and Cassidy Kerner, both top 10
ﬁ nishers in the 1500m.
“I’ve coached for many years, but this
season was just diﬀ erent in that athletes
were ﬁ nally back on campus competing
after 13 months of being at home, parents
were cheering loudly, athletes were having
fun and the loudspeaker seemed to just
have a diﬀ erent vibe … without a doubt it
was my best season.” said Kilgroe.
“I am grateful that both cross country
and track and ﬁ eld were able to have sea-
sons. I have missed working with kids in
athletics and I know they’ve missed it too.
Our athletes came to practice and gave
their all day after day.” added Nichols.
Whiteaker trackster Allie Mansur finishes first in the 100 meter dash.
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