CHARLESTON – In past seasons, some highly touted Oregon relay teams have made it to the state meet and not come through.
Garrett Newman and Co. wasn't about to let that happen again.
Newman finished off a sizzling anchor leg in the 1,600 relay to lift the Hawks to first place in that event, and put them on the brink of a team trophy at the 1A boys state track & field meet that concluded Saturday at O'Brien Stadium.
Oregon finished with 23.5 points, behind just Newman (41), Monmouth-Roseville (31) and Erie-Prophetstown (26). Only the top three squads receive team trophies.
The Hawks put themselves in contention by earning medals in all four relay races, the highlight of which was the 1,600. Newman received the baton for the anchor leg trailing Newman's Maison Bittner and Lena-Winslow's Tevin Sellers by about 10 meters, but made up that deficit in the first 100 meters.
"I knew what I had to do," Newman said, "and I just did it."
In the last 100 meters, it turned into a one-on-one battle between Newman and Sellers, and Newman was able to prevail for one of the few times this season.
"We've lost to Lena-Winslow all but once this season, so coming from behind against them just feels fantastic," Newman said.
The Oregon foursome of Trevor Otten, Pierce Dhaese, Tommy McCormick and Newman finished with a time of 3 minutes, 23.67 seconds, a season best by 2 seconds and just ahead of Le-Win, which finished in 3:23.9.
In the 3,200 relay, Oregon's foursome of Newman, Austin Burkhart, Adam Weller and Otten crossed the finish line in 8:09.24, good for fourth place and a season-best by 6 seconds.
"This is the first time in the 3 years I've ran at state that our 4-by-8 has made finals," Newman said. "Everyone ran exactly what they could and what I knew they could. It just all came together."
The Hawks' 400 relay team of Ashton Rutherford, Jacob Adams, McCormick and Nick Newman finished sixth in 43.64, while the 800 foursome of Adams, Dhaese, McCormick and Nick Newman was seventh in 1:32.24.
The four relays accumulated 23 points for Oregon. The other half-point came from Mark Schmidt, who tied for ninth in the pole vault by clearing 13 feet.
The top area individual performance came from Fulton junior Bryce Holesinger, who turned in a personal-best time of 39.95 in the 300 intermediate hurdles, just behind Wesclin's Jason Bliven, who won in 39.85.
Holesinger ran a clean race until the ninth (and final) hurdle, which he cleared leading with his left leg. He led with his right leg the first eight hurdles, and it slowed him down by a whisker.
"I thought it would be close, but when my feet were off, I didn't want to stutter-step," Holesinger said. "When I came over that last hurdle, I switched my legs, and when I switched my legs, it was a little awkward. I lost some momentum, but it was better than stutter-stepping."
Holesinger has been battling a hip-flexor injury the past few weeks, something he felt kept him out of the 110-meter high hurdle finals. Still, he was pleased to earn a second-place medal, especially after making it to state a year ago and not advancing to the 300 hurdle finals.
"This is just the start for me," he said. "Now I'm going to get ready for football. We're working harder than ever to get back to the playoffs, and then it's going to be all about track for me."
Holesinger's finish allowed the Steamers to finish in an eight-way tie for 39th place with eight points.
Bureau Valley finished in an eight-way tie for 55th place with five points. Leading the way for the Storm was Logan Hoffert, who placed eighth in the triple jump (42-10 1/2) and ninth in the 300 hurdles (41.07).
Also for BV, the 1,600 relay team of Hoffert, Ryan Taylor, Tucker Schoff and Daniel Trone finished eighth in 3:28.14.