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NKN shows improvement in Portland and Tillamook

Junior Karissa Hadermann placed third in the 300 meter hurdles on Saturday at Tillamook. – Citizen Photo by Max Kirkendall

Track season is in full swing and Neah-Kah-Nie High School’s team was on full display last week in Tillamook and Portland.

Max Kirkendall
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The Pirates took a trip out to Portland last Thursday to compete in a Northwest League meet at Portland Christian High School. With all league teams in attendance it was a great opportunity for the Pirates to see how they stacked up with the rest of the schools. And NKN certainly proved they can compete, as the girls team finished in third place collectively and the boys finished in seventh.

Head coach James Billstine credits the hard work of his athletes off the track for their early success.

“I am happy with the how our athletes performed,” Billstine said. “They are very committed in the weight room and it is starting to show, especially with our younger athletes who have not been in a weight training program before, like Bella Simmons, Nikko Mendez, Michael Laun and Frank Stumpf. Early meets are a lot about conditioning for the later ones, and we are getting the reps that we need to be successful at Districts and State.”

NKN had numerous strong performances out in Portland, especially by the girls runners.

The Pirates had a first place finish in the girls 100 meter dash by Emma Miller at 13.67 seconds, a first place finish by Dianah Schultz in the 3,000 at 13:14.88 and two first place finishes by Jordan White in the 800, with a personal record (PR) of  2:31.74 and in the 1,500 meter race at 5:18.22. The girls relay teams were also at the top of the field, as the team of Miller, Schultz, Aspen Becker and Tonanzy Mendoza took first in the 4×100 and the team of Miller, Schultz, White and Rheanne Bryant were second in the 4×400 relay.

For the boys, Ecca Fry had a PR at 12:05.57 in the 3,000 race en route to a fourth place finish and Seth Ziemecki claimed the top spot in the shot put with a throw of 37-05.

On Saturday the Pirates were at Tillamook facing a much tougher field of schools. But many athletes rose to the occasion and had some of their best performances in a few new events.

“What really stood out to me was the willingness of some of our other athletes to try different events, like Joe Vega and Nakai Reny-Hamer in the 200,” Billstine said. “We also had some of our more experienced athletes make some breakthroughs, like Logan Chestnut and Seth Ziemecki in the Discus and Jack Porter in the Javelin.

“Dinah Schultz showed us a little of her phenomenal kick at the end of the 1,500 on Saturday and it will be exciting to see what she can do later in the season. Karissa Hadermann ran the corner well in her 300 hurdle race on Saturday, and her technical work will continue to pay off. Emma Miller is becoming more comfortable with the blocks each meet- this is a product of her work with Coach Quintana.”

Billstine also highlighted a few other athletes who he said are making great strides each week.   

“Ruth Ayala is a new thrower for us and showed tremendous improvement. She is getting good one-on-one work with Coach Young, as are Logan, Seth and Nikko. In the distance events Ecca Fry, Frank Stumpf and Jordan White all work hard on running more even splits and it allowed them to PR or get close to a PR in their respective events. Rhea Bryant showed a new turn of speed in the 400 that should bode very well for the rest of her season.”

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