12A Polk County Itemizer-Observer • April 8, 2015 Polk County Sports CLASS 5A PREP TRACK AND FIELD Quinn learns from past mistakes Senior ready to make the most of his final track and field season By Lukas Eggen The Itemizer-Observer INDEPENDENCE — There is something different about Central senior Alex Quinn. Quinn has always been one of the Panthers’ most versatile athletes. But this season, he’s taking his game to a new level. As a sophomore, Quinn set personal records in the 100-, 400-, and 1,500-meter runs, as well the 300 hurdles, while also competing in events ranging from the 4 x 400 relay to the javelin. In 2013, despite lessening the number of events he competed in, Quinn set just one personal record in the shot put. It was a big disappoint- ment that taught Quinn a difficult lesson. “I learned that you have to put in the work,” Quinn said. “The work you do in practice shows up in the meets. My freshman and sophomore years, I worked really hard and my results improved. My junior year, I kind of slacked off. I had this upper classman mindset and thought it was cool to not work as hard, I guess. I had played football and gained weight for that and was out of shape and lazy.” After a 2014 season that Quinn saw as a lost opportu- nity, he decided to not let himself enter a season un- prepared ever again. The dif- ference has been nothing short of dramatic. Q u i n n — a h u rd l e r, thrower and jumper for the Panthers’ track and field squad — came in more pre- pared than he’s ever been, something that hasn’t al- ways come easy for him. “Alex came into the sea- son leaner and in better shape than he’s ever been to start the season,” Central coach Eli Cirino said. “He is a big, powerful athlete who has worked hard and seems poised to have a big year.” In addition to playing other sports, Quinn kept himself in shape through offseason workouts. Quinn set personal records in the 110 hurdles, finishing in 16.09 seconds, and the long jump, with a mark of 19 feet, 0¾ inches against Woodburn on April 1. His 300 hurdles time of 43.54 is just off his personal best of 43.38. “Considering how early it is in the season and consid- Up Next • Central hosts South Al- bany Wednesday (today) at 4 p.m. The Panthers travel to compete at the Sandy Invitational Satur- day at 10 a.m. LUKAS EGGEN/Itemizer-Observer Central senior Alex Quinn looks to make state in the hurdles, among other events. ering how cold and wet it was, I think it’s safe to say that he is going to break out very soon,” Cirino said. Laziness is no longer part of Quinn’s vocabulary. “My mindset is to be more aggressive,” Quinn said. “Don’t just go through the motions. I have to be aggres- sive and attack it, sprint as hard as I can and jump as hard as I can. I don’t just go about it casually this sea- son.” Quinn’s path to success in the hurdles hasn’t been a simple one. “(Hurdles) can be hard,” Quinn said. “It’s not like a PREP SOFTBALL ROUNDUP Panthers remain undefeated Itemizer-Observer staff report INDEPENDENCE — Cen- tral opened Mid-Willamette Conference play with a pair of victories to enter the week undefeated during the 2015 season. The Panthers (6-0 overall, 2-0 MWC) defeated South Albany 13-3 on Thursday, before downing Dallas 6-4 on Monday. Ryanne Huffman had four hits against South Al- b a n y, i n c l u d i n g t h re e triples. Pitcher Erin Cole earned the victory in both games. The Panthers were sched- uled to host Lebanon Tues- day after press time. Central faces Silverton Wednesday (today) at 4:30 p.m. before playing at Cor- vallis on Friday. PIRATES DEFEAT CROW: Perrydale’s softball team re- bounded from a 16-0 loss to Scio on April 1 by defeating Crow 11-7 on Friday. The Pi- rates entered league play with a 3-2 record overall. Perrydale was scheduled to play Kennedy Tuesday after press time to open Tri-River Confer- ence play. The Pirates host Western Mennonite Thursday at 4:30 p.m. DALLAS SPLITS LEAGUE OPENERS: Dallas’ softball team rolled to a 17-2 win over Woodburn on March 31 to open Mid-Willamette Confer- ence play. The Dragons were scheduled to host Corvallis Tuesday after press time. Dal- las plays at Crescent Valley on Wednesday (today) before hosting Lebanon Friday at 4:30 p.m. PREP TRACK AND FIELD ROUNDUP Vergin leads Perrydale Vergin, Price record first-place finishes for Pirates Itemizer-Observer staff report L E B A N O N — Se n i o r Alysia Vergin and junior Tay- lor Price exceled at the Tri- River Conference Preview Meet on Thursday. Vergin placed first in the 100-meter hurdles in 18.53 sec- onds to help lead Perrydale’s track and field team, w h i l e Price won Vergin the 300 hurdles in 53.27. The girls placed fifth out of six teams. Jacob Pope took third in the discus with a throw of 80 feet, 10 inches to lead the boys team, which finished sixth. The Pirates competed at Santiam Tuesday after press time. Perrydale travels to Dayton on Thursday. The first event begins at 4 p.m. DALLAS PLACES NINTH: Dallas’ boys and girls track and field teams finished ninth out of nine squads at the Titan Track Classic in West Salem on Friday. Sophomore Aaron White led the boys team, tak- ing third in the triple jump with a mark of 40 feet, 5½ inches. Junior Kyleen Benz led the girls squad, taking second in the shot put with a throw of 36-4¼ and discus with a dis- tance of 114-3. The Dragons opened the week falling to Lebanon. The boys lost 101-35, while the girls lost 63-54. Dal- las traveled to Silverton Tues- day after press time, while the Dragons will compete at the Springfield Rotary Invitational on Friday. Events begin at 4 p.m. CENTRAL DOWNS WOOD- BURN: Central’s boys and girls track teams defeated Wood- burn on April 1. The boys won 103.5-40.5, while the girls earned a 94-39 triumph. The boys placed first in 15 events, while the girls won 12 events. Among the event winners in- cluded Thomas Peterson in the 200-meter run in 24.07 sec- onds, Nick Burgett in the 400 in 55.04 seconds and Kaj Bansen in the triple jump with a mark of 38-4 to lead the boys. The girls saw first-place finishes from Sai Tapasa in the shot put with a throw of 31-8, Abby McBeth in the 1,500 in 5:05.03 and Bethanie Altamira- no in the 100 and 200 in 14.04 and 29.93, respectively, among others. The Panthers host South Albany Wednesday (today) at 4:30 p.m. before competing at the Sandy Invita- tional Saturday at 10 a.m. YEAGER EXCELS AT ESTA- CADA: Falls City’s boys track a n d fi e l d t e a m fi n - ished sev- enth out of 17 teams at the Estaca- da Invita- tional on S a t u r d a y. Senior Tris- Yeager tan Yeager won the discus with a throw of 130 feet, 8 inches, while plac- ing second in the shot put with a mark of 38-1. Bo Beauchamp placed third in the shot put (37-11½) and discus (99-5) to help lead the Moun- taineers. The girls placed 15th out of 16 teams. Freshman Madelyn Hendrickson finished fourth in the 100-meter hur- dles in 19.70 seconds. She also placed ninth in the 100 and 11th in the 200. Falls City will compete at the Great White In- vitational at Newport High on Tuesday. WESTERN OREGON ROUNDUP Central high graduate throws a one-hitter Friday outs in the second game. Nathan Etheridge and Cody Sullivan combined for five hits each during the two games to lead WOU at the plate. The Wildcats responded on Saturday, defeating the Wolves (16-19 overall, 12- 17 GNAC) 6-3 and 9-4, de- spite home runs from Gar- ret Harpole and Marcus Hinkle. WOU leads Montana State Billings, which entered the week at 9-6 in confer- ence play. The Wolves host Lewis- Clark State Thursday at 1 p.m. for a doubleheader before taking on Saint Martin’s in a pair of dou- bleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. Play begins at 1 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday. TRACK AND FIELD EX- CELS: Western Oregon sent athletes all across the west coast on Saturday. Freshman Return: Mitchell happy to be back Continued from Page 10A Mitchell’s return added depth to the infield. She also provides the Dragons with another dangerous bat. “Having Sarah back is such a boost, not only on the field, but off it as well,” Drag- ons coach Al Perkins said. Mitchell’s biggest hurdle since returning hasn’t been relearning the game. “We often find ourselves second guessing and, with such a quick sport like soft- ball, you don’t have the time to second guess,” Mitchell said. “Our instincts are cor- rect, I think we just need to gain that extra level of confi- dence and go with what our body is telling us to do be- cause most of the time your instincts are correct. ... As a team, one of our biggest strengths is our fight,” Mitchell said. “We don't ever cash out of a game. We know that everything can change in just one inning. Meaning, we don't give up.” There are a few moments that Mitchell wonders what it would be like if she stuck with track and field. But in the end, she knows she’s where she belongs. “Every once in a while, I wish I would have stuck with javelin this year, but I’m happy with the choice I made,” Mitchell said. PREP GOLF ROUNDUP Dallas boys place sixth at tourney Itemizer-Observer staff report DALLAS — It was a famil- iar story for Dallas and Cen- tral’s boys golf teams. The Dragons placed sixth out of eight teams at the sec- ond Mid-Willamette Confer- ence tournament, while the Panthers finished eighth on Monday. Dylan Cackler led Dallas with a team-low 93, while Collin Brinton led Central with 103. Both teams will compete at Mallard Creek Golf Course in Lebanon on Monday. DALLAS GIRLS OPEN SEA- SON: Dallas’ girls golf team competed at Mallard Creek Golf Course on Monday. Th e D r a g - ons had three girls competing. Kailee Curtis led the team after finish- i n g fi f t h Curtis overall, shooting a team-low 50 over the nine-hole course. Natalie Crabtree (62) and Gwen Coons (72) rounded out Dallas’ com- petitors. The Dragons compet- ed at Springhill Golf Club in Al- bany Tuesday after press time. The girls will compete at Tuk- wila Golf Course in Woodburn. Itemizer-Observer Pratt dominates Wildcats Itemizer-Observer staff report ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Western Oregon hung on to its slim lead in the Great Northwest Athletic Confer- ence after splitting a four- game series with Central Washington. The Wolves opened up the series by sweeping the doubleheader on Friday, 3-2 and 10-0. Central High graduate Jesse Pratt threw a one-hit- ter, recording eight strike- sprint where someone can just be faster than you. This was something I could make up for the fact that someone was faster than me by working harder. Whether you have a tail wind or a head wind deter- mines how many steps you can take between hurdles. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year did I really get the knack of it.” His field events provide a different challenge. “You wait and you look to see how everyone fares,” Quinn said. “You’re not rac- ing next to somebody. You’re not seeing how they do. You wait and see how far they jumped or threw.” He is excited to face them all this spring. In 2015, Quinn knows this is only the beginning, and he plans to make anyone who overlooks him pay. “I looked at track results online on Friday and I know 5A is a lot more competi- tive,” Quinn said. “I knew my times last year weren’t going to be good enough here. I’ve had some decent results, but I’m not close to satisfied to the marks I want. … Making state and to do well at state, that’s the ulti- mate goal.” Athlete of the Week Chris Rech Central High Cody Warner finished ninth overall in the 100-meter run in 10.71 seconds at the Stanford Invitational. At the San Francis- co Distance Carnival, junior Emmi Collier won the women’s shot put with a mark of 42 feet, 6¼ inches. And at the Jenn Boyman Memorial Invita- tional in McMinnville, sopho- more Amanda Ditzhazy set a career best in the 1,500 with a time of 4:56.76. WOU hosts the John Knight Twilight meet on Friday. Events begin at 2:30 p.m. Rech, a senior left-handed pitcher, had the game of his season against Wood- burn. Coming off an 8-0 win over the Bulldogs, Rech threw a masterful game. His no-hitter allowed the Panthers to cruise to a 13-0 victory and improve to 3-0 to open Mid- Willamette Conference play. Rech’s pitching helped the Pan- thers shut out Woodburn in all three games. Entering the week, Central has given up just six total runs. To submit nominations for the Itemizer-Observer Athlete of the Week, contact Sports Editor Lukas Eggen at 503-623-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 a.m. on Monday.