Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current, April 01, 2015, Image 12

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    12A Polk County Itemizer-Observer • April 1, 2015
Polk County Sports
Warner sprinting to success
Freshman surpassing all expectations in 100-, 200-meter races
By Lukas Eggen
The Itemizer-Observer
flash and it’s over.
When Western Oregon
University freshman Cody
Warner runs the 100- or 200-
meter races, he is among the
fastest on the track.
“I close everything out,”
Warner said. “When I go
back and watch my video, I
hear people screaming, but
when I’m on the (starting)
blocks, I can’t hear a thing.”
What takes a matter of
seconds to watch is the re-
sult of much more than nat-
ural speed.
“That’s the thing nobody
sees,” Warner said. “When I
race, 99 percent of it comes
from the workouts, the
hours and hours of running
every day. They just see the
Warner, who won the 100
and 200 at the Willamette
Invitational on Saturday, is
one of the WOU track and
field team’s brightest stars.
Yet, he almost chose a dif-
ferent path entirely.
When Warner entered
Thurston High School in
Springfield, he was eyeing a
different sport.
“I tried playing basketball
(as a freshman), but I didn’t
quite make the team,” Warn-
er said.
Warner then set his sights
LUKAS EGGEN/ Itemizer-Observer
Freshman Cody Warner (center) starts the 100-meter run at the Willamette Invitational in Salem on Saturday.
on track and field.
“I hated distance, so that
led me to sprints,” Warner
said. “I watched all these
guys out there in the
Olympics and I wanted to be
like them.”
Warner said he’s trained
nonstop for his events since
that moment. But even he
didn’t expect what would
happen once he arrived at
Western Oregon.
Warner first qualified for
the finals of the 60- and 200-
meter runs in the Great
Northwest Athletic Confer-
ence Indoor Track and Field
championships on Feb. 21.
Warner opened the out-
door season with wins in the
100 and 200 at the Rose City
Preview on March 21 as well.
“I have gone way above
my expectations,” Warner
said. “I couldn’t even imag-
ine I could perform as well
Bergeson: Went 23-7 this year
Continued from Page 10A
Bergeson went 69-45 dur-
ing his four-year tenure.
The 2014-15 season was his
most successful: WOU fin-
ished 23-7, the first time
Western Oregon won 20
games in a single season
since the 1996-97 cam-
The Wolves won the
Great Northwest Athletic
Conference regular season
title and advanced to the
NCAA Division II National
Tournament as part of the
West Regional, the pro-
gram’s first postseason ap-
pearance at the Division II
Bergeson earned GNAC
Coach of the Year honors.
“Under (Brady’s) leader-
ship, he elevated our men’s
basketball program to new
heights as an NCAA Divi-
sion II program,” Dearing
said. “He embodied charac-
ter, integrity, discipline, ac-
countability, dedication and
enthusiasm each day as he
worked with the young men
on the team. As a result, our
student-athletes have de-
veloped as players and as
quality individuals, along
with expanding their under-
standing of the game under
Brady’s direction. We wish
him much success in his
new endeavor.”
Located in Denver, Regis
went 5-21 overall during the
2014-15 campaign.
“My family and I are very
excited to be joining the
Regis family,” Bergeson said
in a separate statement. “I
am very impressed by the
leadership in place from
(university president) Fa-
ther John Fitzgibbons, to
Vice President Roby Blust,
to the entire athletics ad-
ministration and coaches. I
am honored to have been
selected, and look forward
to taking on all of the chal-
lenges ahead of us.”
Western Oregon will
begin its search for a head
coach immediately.
Bergeson did not return
messages left for him.
For the good of the team
Senior likes balance of team, individual performance
By Lukas Eggen
The Itemizer-Observer
Up Next
DALLAS — Senior Maris-
sa Brewen loves being a
team player.
Among her teammates,
she’s one of the loudest
cheering her fellow players,
Dallas girls tennis coach
Jordan Sollman said.
“It is awesome to see the
drive to compete and win
on the court with Marissa,
but most importantly, win
or lose, Marissa is out
cheering on her teammates
to do well in their matches,”
Sollman said.
But something else also
drives Brewen. Something
that she couldn’t find in
other sports — the chance
to go one-on-one.
“What I love about team
tennis is that I get to prac-
tice and travel with a won-
derful group of girls and we
get to cheer each other on
and help each other out,”
Brewen said. “But as soon
as I step onto the court with
my opponent, it’s all about
how I manage the game,
what shots I choose and
how I’m managing my
mental game that deter-
mines if we score a point
against our opponent or
That drive is part of the
reason Brewen is the Drag-
ons’ No. 1 singles player.
“She is really stepping
into her role as a leader on
this team and has really
helped, along with the other
seniors, to help better the
younger varsity members,”
Sollman said.
• Dallas’ girls tennis
squad hosts Central
Thursday at 4 p.m.
LUKAS EGGEN/Itemizer-Observer
Dallas senior Marissa Brewen entered the year as the
Dragons’ No. 1 singles player.
Off the court, Brewen is
friendly and always smiling,
Sollman said. In between
the lines, she’s focused.
“The best way is to keep
everything in perspective,”
Brewen said. “Each point is
valuable and if it’s won, I’m
one step closer to winning.
If it’s lost, I’m just one step
behind winning and I have
to match and surpass that
lost point in order to win.”
Brewen spent her offsea-
son focusing on her game,
making every part of her
skillset as much a part of
her as anything she does.
“(I developed) muscle
memory by practicing the
same stroke, serve, volley
over and over again,”
Brewen said. “What you de-
velop in practice deter-
mines what you do in a
Brewen has had a strong
start to her season, includ-
ing a 6-1, 6-4 win over
North Marion’s Brianna
Snyder on March 19.
“When I’m playing well,
each rally is a mini adrena-
line rush, and it’s exciting
and super fun,” Brewen
“I’ve learned a lot about
conquering negative self-
talk, tuning out the fears
and planning for the posi-
tive,” Brewen added.
But learning to keep out
negative thoughts and
doing it in the middle of a
match can be difficult.
“For me, this is hard be-
cause the score is partially
determined by my oppo-
nent, and sometimes it can
be difficult to determine
when people are making
bad calls, and I’m just not
seeing things correctly
from my side of the court,
or when my opponent is
not playing fairly, which is
an occasional, but frustrat-
ing occurrence,” Brewen
Thanks in part to cross-
country, Brewen said she
enters the tennis season in
shape and capable of play-
ing long matches, if needed.
But for all her physical
tools, it’s her mental tough-
ness that can give her an
“You can always come
back, take over the set and
win,” Brewen said.
Now, she hopes her phys-
ical and mental toughness
will rub off on younger play-
ers, as the Dragons look to
surprise in the Mid-
Willamette Conference.
“I think we have a great
team that wants to do really
well,” Brewen said. “… I
hope that most of us will get
past the second round of
districts, but I think we’ll
have a better idea of where
we’ll be once we’ve played
all the teams.”
as I have this year. I’ve had
to completely re-evaluate
my expectations going for-
Warner entered the sea-
son hoping to compete
within the conference. He’s
eyeing a bigger prize now.
“I want to get to nationals
in the 100 and 200,” Warner
said. “I’d be completely sat-
isfied with that because the
times would come with
While Warner has sur-
prised even himself with his
success, WOU coach Mike
Johnson said he saw Warn-
er’s potential early on.
“Being familiar with
Cody’s background coming
out of high school, we felt
confident he would transi-
tion well,” Johnson said. “He
has done better than that
and is maturing nicely.”
Warner is quick to credit
everyone for his success —
except himself.
“Our coaches push us so
hard, but I appreciate it,”
Warner said. “They are
working me to make me bet-
ter and our teammates get
excited for each other’s races
every time out.”
Before and after races,
Warner is a talker among his
teammates. As soon as he
steps onto the track, howev-
er, he becomes a different
person. One thing is clear:
he’s having the time of his
life, even if his races are over
in a flash.
“The atmosphere of this
team is just amazing,” Warn-
er said. “We have a lot of
people who can go out there
and get after it in a number
of events. It’s just great to be
around everyone.”
Leap: Sayer
also sprints
Continued from Page 10A
She soon found out that
the long jump and triple
jump weren’t just about run-
ning and jumping. Master-
ing the footwork and form
proved to be a long process.
“They are equally tough,”
Sayer said. “The last step for
the long jump is pretty hard
because you have to get the
strength to pop up. The
rhythm needed for the triple
jump is also difficult to get
Another key to her success
emerged quickly in high
school — jumps coach Grant
“I’ve worked on having
better communication with
coach Boustead,” Sayer said.
“He’s a really good coach. He
pushes me and helps me
work hard. He helps me
shake off and forget a bad
jump and fix the things I
need to work on.”
Sayer may be focusing on
jumps, but she also is expect-
ed to run sprints, including
on the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400
meter relay teams, meaning
her competition days can last
from one of the meet’s first
events to one of the last.
Sayer’s down time is just as
important as when she com-
“I definitely have to focus
a lot in between my events,”
Sayer said. “I just try and
focus on things that I need
to work on, drink water and
just prepare myself for my
next event.”
Sayer may have just one
meet under her belt this
spring, but Masei sees big
things from her this season.
“Looking at her results
from the icebreaker, we ex-
pect great performances
from her in the meets to
come,” Masei said.
Now, Sayer is focused on
keeping that feeling of flight
for as long as possible as she
looks to qualify for state for
the first time.
“Being able to work for
something that means a lot
to you and getting better is a
nice feeling,” Sayer said. “I
Athlete of the Week
Western Oregon
The sophomore pitcher came up big
for the Western Oregon softball team at
the Tournament of Champions. Cadwal-
lader earned a victory over San Francisco
State on Sunday, then pitched four innings of relief work
against Academy of Art, helping the Wolves win the conso-
lation title. She finished the week with a 1.72 ERA after giv-
ing up five runs in 20.1 innings of work.
Badane Sultessa
Western Oregon
Sultessa, a junior transfer, picked up
right where he left off from the indoor
track season. Sultessa won the 800-
meter run at the Willamette Invitational,
finishing with a time of 1 minute, 52.64
seconds. Sultessa, who earned All-American honors at the
NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, po-
sted the eighth fastest time in program history on Saturday,
winning his first outdoor event with the Wolves.
To submit nominations for the Itemizer-Observer Athlete of
the Week, contact Sports Editor Lukas Eggen at 503-623-2373
or leggen@polkio.com by 9 a.m. on Monday.