Lane Titans sweep NWAACC Southern Region track titles

05/15/2011 09:58

In celebrating a second consecutive sweep of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Southern Region Championships on Saturday, the Lane Community College men’s and women’s track and field teams did a victory lap around the school’s new $2.5 million track facility.

“This is really how I envisioned it,” Lane coach Grady O’Connor said.

The Titan men scored 240 1/2 points in winning their eighth consecutive regional championship, ahead of Mount Hood Community College’s 182 points.

The Titan women scored 254 points to overtake second-place Clackamas (209 1/2 points).

Things did not always go Lane’s way early on.

“It was really a stressful time early in the meet,” said O’Connor, who was awarded men’s coach of the year honors for the region after the meet. “There were some things that didn’t go our way.”

Clackamas showed up strong on the women’s side, jumping out to early leads of greater than 50 points.

Cougars sophomore Jen Roberts finished no worse than fourth in four events, earning women’s high point honors. Katie Higgins won the hammer throw and shot put and finished fifth in the discus.

Freshman Tiara Fuller swept the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, and sophomore Keisa Monterola, the reigning NWAACC champion in the long jump and pole vault, defended her titles in both events.

Titans freshman Rachel Jensen, a North Eugene High School graduate, paved the way for the Lane women.

Jensen went out strong from the start to win the 1,500 in 4 minutes, 46.86 seconds. Teammates Lauran Jackson (4:56.09) and KD Solomon, of Junction City (5:01.18), finished third and fourth, respectively.

Jensen added a victory in the 800 (2:21.20) as Titans freshman Barry McLaren (2:25.86) and Solomon (2:27.59) gave Lane a 1-2-3 finish and a major momentum boost.

“That really was a critical part of the meet where we took it to a whole new level,” O’Connor said.

Freshman Lindsay Beard, a South Eugene graduate, broke her own school record in the pole vault by clearing 12 feet, 1 inch in leading the Titans to a sweep of second through sixth place in the event.

In the penultimate event, the 5,000, freshman Gylany Crossman dominated throughout the day’s first steady rainfall to win in 18:08.34 and spearhead a 1-2-4-7 finish.

“We did what we were supposed to,” Crossman said. “It’s definitely nice to secure it a little more.”

On the men’s side, Mount Hood, Clackamas and Lane kept close throughout before Dusty Jarvis made his moves.

Jarvis anchored the Titans’ 4x100-meter relay team to victory (42.42 seconds) and then captured individual titles at 100 (10.94) and 200 meters (22.28).

“It was expected,” Jarvis said. “That’s the main thing I focused on this week, was telling myself I’m going to do it.”

Sophomore Jordan Parker led a complete sweep of the men’s pole vault, as five Titans combined to earn 33 points for the top five places.

“We’re one of the top pole vault schools in the state,” O’Connor said. “Other schools don’t put emphasis on that event; we obviously do.”

As in the women’s team race, the men’s 5,000 was the clincher for Lane. Cesar Perez, Jacob Berkner and Carlos Monrroy finished 1-2-4 to clinch the meet.

Clackamas’ Brett Ratliff was the high point earner for the men’s meet, winning both hurdles races in addition to his runner-up heptathlon finish.