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Oregon Relays Recap: Curtis' White Shows Out Under the Lights at Hayward

Sophomore runs state's fastest time this season in big PR fashion to finish second in girl's mile

Curtis' Eliza White ran 4:50.39 to place second in the girls mile at the Oregon Relays on Friday, April 22, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. (Phil Yearian/DyeStat)

EUGENE, ORE. - The magic of Hayward Field was alive and well once again at the Oregon Relays this weekend as some of Washington's top athletes made the trip down to TrackTown, USA and came away with numerous personal best performances. Of all those marks, none were more impressive than by Curtis' own Eliza White during Friday night's invitational section.

Just weeks after running a personal best time of 5 minutes, 3.41 seconds to win the 1,600 meters at the Arnie Young Invite in Renton, the sophomore star ran the race of her life in the girls mile taking second overall in a time of 4:50.39, finishing as Washington's top overall runner in the field.

"I was going into that race so nervous," White said. "For me it was huge as I was not expecting like second or that time at all. It just blew my mind and it felt great."

As Mira Costa's Dalia Frias was well out front the start, it would be a battle for second place between White and the rest of the field as athletes traded off laps left and right for 1,200 meters.

Under a lap to go, seven girls were neck and neck with one and another with White just inches ahead of the pack at 3:43.22 and eventually closing in a 67 second last lap to secure the second overall spot. White's mile time now ranks 12th in the country this season.

"I just left it all out there on the track," White said. "I don't know if I need to make new goals now, but I'll hopefully keep progressing from here with times and everything."

Bellarmine's Ella Borsheim was also featured in the field placing seventh in 4:54.51. Mira Costa's Frias first place time was ran in 4:43.32 - eight seconds off her nation leading mark of 4:35.06.

Walla Walla's Brody Hartley and Eastlake's Emily Van Valkenburg also highlighted the evening running personal best efforts in their respective races as Hartley took eighth in the boys mile running 4:14.81 and Van Valkenburg ran 10:00.28 placing fifth in the girls 3,000.

Emerald Ridge's Conner Wirth holds up the No. 1 finger crossing the finish in first in the boys 3,000m open in the Oregon Relays on Friday, April 22, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

Emerald Ridge's Conner Wirth put together one of the most exciting races of the meet in the Friday afternoon session coming from behind to win a tactical boy's 3,000 open section in 8:40.37.

"I'm grateful," Wirth said. "Not a lot of high schoolers can say they have raced at Hayward Field. Even though I was in heat two, which I was disappointed I was, I still got a dub which is all that matters."

Trailing up until the last 250 meters of the race, Wirth said he channeled his inner Cole Hocker and then made one of the biggest surges down the final stretch passing Marshfield's Alexander Garcia-Silver with less than 10 meters to go to secure the victory.

"I'm on his field, I'm on his turf, so why not show them what kick I have," Wirth said. "I train like I'm chasing someone every day. It's just like chasing my teammate and I got to catch them at the finish line, but not tie with them. I got to beat them."

Wirth most recently broke the Emerald Ridge school record in the 1,600 running 4:18.30 at the South Sound Classic in front of the former record holder Lance Slichko.

Mercer Island freshman Owen Powell, son of University of Washington track and cross-country coaches Andy and Maurica Powell, won the boys freshmen 3,000 race in a personal best time of 8:59.71 outkicking the entire field on the final 200 backstretch.

Eastlake freshmen trio had themselves a day in the distances as Fiona Wolf started off with a second-place finish in the girls steeplechase running 7:26.65, followed by the Roos twins in Sally and Jane in the freshmen 3,000 placing second and third in personal best times of 10:27.09 and 10:27.18.

Curtis' Leroy Horton and Ava Simms ran lifetime bests in the 200 and 400 final sections as Horton placed sixth in the boys 200 running 22.07 and Simms was fourth in the 400 running 57.62.

Gig Harbor's Ben Stevens finished in seventh in the boys 400 running a personal best 50.61, and Camas' Madison Hubbard was 12th in the girls 200 running 26.24.

Emerald Ridge's JaiCieonna Gero-Holt won the girls 100m hurdles and high jump at the Oregon Relays on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

In Saturday's competitions, Emerald Ridge's JaiCeionna Gero-Holt continued dominating in freshman campaign as she took home titles in the girls 100 hurdles running 14.77 and then jumping 5 feet, 10.75 inches to win the high jump.

The freshman phenom continues to pile on the win total this spring as she has now reached 11 combined wins between the hurdles and high jump in the outdoor season with just a little under a month left until the state track meet takes place in late May. She is currently the favorite at the 4A level to win both state titles

Trailing behind Gero-Holt in the 100 hurdles with two more lifetime best performances were Hazen's Olivia Conklin and Richland's Hannah Chang as they finished second and third overall in 14.94 and 14.97. Conklin also ran a lifetime best in the 300 hurdles in her second attempt this season running a Hazen school record 44.63 in the open section. She finished second overall for the meet despite not racing in the invite section.

"I knew I wanted to push the first hurdle, and I hadn't been doing that since the first time I tried it," Conklin said. "I pushed really hard, and I guess I just kept it and didn't stutter. I knew I was going to use my bad foot on most of the hurdles, but I didn't stutter, and I just went with it."

The boys 110 hurdles also saw a lifetime best performance from another Emerald Ridge athlete in Asher Ogden as he finished in second running a time of 14.53.

Federal Way's Esther Akinlosotu, a University of Arizona commit, placed third in the girls 100 final in a lifetime best 12.12. On the boy's side, Sam Wah was 12th for the Eagles in the 300 hurdles running a personal best 41.58.

North Creek's Peyton Cunningham won the boys freshmen 100 in 11.21 to advance to the varsity finals section in the evening where he placed eighth in 11.43.

Roger's (Puyallup) Isaac Briggs took sixth in the boys 800 running a personal best 1:55.37. Bellarmine's Matthew Hillyer (11th, 1:56.34), Union's Grayson Caldwell (12, 1:56.37), and Eastlake's Connor Hom (13th, 1:56.37) also ran lifetime bests.

Bellarmine's Borsheim was fourth in a fast girls 800 running a season best 2:13.69.


For more results from the meet, click here.

To view more photos, click here.

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