Late on the update, but in case you haven’t been on any form of social media lately…. THE LADY YOTES WON THEIR 4TH CONSECUTIVE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP. Yes, we believe that all caps is necessary for such an event. To add to this excitement, the men’s team had the best conference meet of any Yote squad to date. It was a great weekend overall.

Heading into day 1 both teams knew they would be in contention to bring home the conference trophy. The meet kicked off in the throws and jump pits for the Yotes, and really got the momentum rolling early. The women’s hammer, which was anticipated to be a key event on the women’s side, lived up to the expectation as the women went 2, 4, and 7. Well ahead of what they were seeded to score. In the shot put ring it was a similar scenario as the ladies went 1 and 4, with Hayley Morse earning the conference crown. On the men’s side, Andrew Galloway and Taylor Oppedyk both scored over seeding in the men’s hammer (Oppedyk 5 & Galloway 6) and shot put (Galloway 3 & Oppedyk 5).

This momentum continued onto the track as freshmen Billy Chamberlain-Godfrey and Tamika Russell both finished with great steeplechase races. Tamika finished third overall earning her team 6 points. Billy finished second and bettered his B-mark in the event, ultimately earning a spot in the national meet. The men’s 4×100 kept this momentum and rewrote the event in the record book finishing with a time of 42.17, just off a national B mark. Then the women’s 4×100 happened….. The women’s team ran the stick clean through 3 legs, but a miscommunication on the handoff kept the Lady Yotes from getting the baton around the track. What normally would be looked at as a huge loss of points, sparked the fire to get the women’s team going.

Immediately following this race the trio of Amy Pfaff, Lila Klopfenstein, and Mishal Cotugno quickly erased the deficit of the 4×100 miscue by finishing 1, 5, and 7 respectively. These ladies scored well over seeding and put the women’s team back on track. In the men’s 1500, Max Hampton braved the first part of a triple no Yote had ever attempted before (1500, 5k, 10k). Hampton led the way for the Yotes and finished second overall in the race. Not far behind were teammates Dylan Walker, Quinn Radbourne, and Austin Fred who finished 5, 7, and 8 respectively.

The 100mH featured no surprises as Tiana Thomas dominated the race from the gun. On the men’s side, Brooks Ney continued his solid 110mH season and finished 3rd in a tightly packed field. Soon after it was back on the track as Tiana Thomas and Nichole ran away with 1st and 2nd in the 400m. Sneaking away points were freshmen Kami and Kimber Hawkins with a 7th and 8th place finish in the event. The men’s 400m featured a surprise to some, but not to all. Heading into the men’s 400m the event appeared to be wide open. We knew with how Joseph Bolin showed up at championship events he would have a shot at taking the crown. We just didn’t know how dominating of a performance he would show. Joseph finished the race 1st with a new school record time of 48.81. Also chipping in some points to the men’s team effort was Edmund Ellis finishing 8th.

The final event of the night featured a number of great performances. In the women’s race, Emily Hawgood was entered in as a no time…. But she definitely didn’t finish with a no time! Emily put together a great performance in the event and chipped in 6 points to the Lady Yote’s effort with her third place finish. The final event of the season was the men’s 10,000m race, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Dan Williams, Max Hampton, Matt Goodwin, Miles Ranck, and Andrew Sutton finished 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th as they put together a monster event with 30 points added to the total. At the end of the day, both Yote squads lead the meet for the first time in program history.

Heading into day 2, the women’s squad picked up right where they left off. The first event of the morning were the women’s pole vault and discus. Claire Otero uncorked a monster throw on her first attempt and quickly walked away with a crown. Kanessa Uta put a bow on her great conference meet and finished 5th overall in the event. This momentum was matched on the pole vault runway as Allison Cossins made a big swing. Coming in with a personal best of 2.89m Allison soared over 3.10m and finished 4th overall, a huge point swing.

On the men’s side of the throws Brooks Ney finished just outside of scoring in the javelin with a 9th place finish. Andrew Galloway finished his discus season with a third place finish in a packed event. At the jumps pit, Kami Hawkins and Isaac Gonzalez chipped in a points to the effort with an eighth place finishes in the triple jump. Back to the track, it was back to business for the women’s team. Nichole DeGrange and Tiana Thomas went 1st and 2nd again, this time in the 100m. If Eastern Oregon hadn’t given up hope after that performance, it definitely came in the next event as Amy Pfaff and Mishal Cotugno finished 1st and 2nd as well in the 800m. The men’s middle distance squad put together another solid effort in the 800m as Dylan Walker finished 5th, with Edmund Ellis not far behind with a 7th place finish.

Moving to the 400mH, Tiana Thomas continued her dominant performance at the conference meet and won the event in a new school record time of 60.22. Kami Hawkins again contributed to the women’s effort with a 5th place finish. On the men’s side, Brooks Ney battled to the end and finished 4th amid a tight knit pack finishing in 54 seconds. Nichole DeGrange chipped in another 10 points as she won the 200m with ease, marking it the second of her career. On the men’s side, Tyler Higby showed his speed as he finished with third place finish and nearly broke the 22 second mark with his time of 22.04.

The 5,000m provided HUGE personal bests for freshman Tamika Russell and sophomore Ashtyn Ellis who finished 6th and 7th respectively. On the men’s side Max Hampton concluded the triple with a 4th place finish in the event. Fellow senior Dan Williams wasn’t far behind as he finished 6th overall with freshman Billy Godfrey just behind in 7th.

No surprises here as the men’s pole vault competition took until the women’s 4×400 to end. It did end well for the Yotes despite the lengthy competition. Joseph Bolin defended his pole vault crown and had teammate Tyler Amrhein finish in 2nd. Also scoring for the Yotes were Charlie Kido and Charlie Shepherd who both tied 6th.

As if the meet wasn’t dominant enough, the ladies capped it off with a dominant 4x400m relay. The ladies finished the relay a mere 6 seconds ahead of the next squad. The men, missing Joseph due to pole vault, finished third for the final event.

At the end of the day the Lady Yotes finished with their fourth consecutive conference championship. The women scored 203 points with only 15 athletes at the meet, debatably one of the best team performances per athlete. Tiana Thomas earned the conference award for track athlete of the meet and Claire Otero earned the field athlete of the meet award. Nichole DeGrange earned the in house athlete of the meet award for her performance.

On the men’s side, it was hands down the best Yote’s men’s team assembled. The Yotes were a few events from blowing the meet open and walking away with the team trophy. It was a great meet to watch the men’s team begin to build their own identity in their quest for the conference championship. Earning the in house athlete of the meet was Max Hampton for completing his grueling triple for the betterment of the team.

The Yotes ship off to Gulf Shores, AL Monday of next week. A fairly large squad will be making the venture, and may be the most diverse team we’ve taken to the national meet. This team features hurdlers, pole vaulters, sprinters, distance, and for the first time ever throwers. The team going will consist of Brooks Ney, Joseph Bolin, Max Hampton, Dan Williams, Billy Godfrey, Amy Pfaff, Lila Klopfenstein, Tiana Thomas, Nichole DeGrange, Kimber Hawkins, Kami Hawkins, Claire Otero, and Hayley Morse. Stay tuned as usual on twitter for updated results! Competition begins Thursday, May 26th and concludes Saturday, May 28th!

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