INDEPENDENCE -- Central got just about everything it wanted and them some when it hosted the Val-Co Conference track meet on May 13-14.
"Things went very nicely for us," Panthers coach Tim Conley said. "The people we had planned going on (to state) made it, and we even had one extra in Andrew Cleland in the discus.
"We've got enough people going to state where we can't take the Panther Bus. We have to take the regular bus, which means I don't have to worry about driving."
Among the many highlights for Central was the boys 1,600 relay team winning with the fastest Class 3A time in the state and Sara Cole's league record throw in the javelin.
The Panthers' Tim McElravy, Devin Conklin, Michael Phillips and Cody Prescott won the 1,600 relay in 3:27.25. Newport was second in 3:28.19. Those are the top two times among the teams that qualified for the state meet.
"The four-by-400 was fun to watch," Conley said. "Our lead guy got us a big lead. Their number two guy caught up to our number two guy. But then Michael Phillips ran away from their number three guy, and that was the end of that."
Cole made good use of a new javelin that was delivered o Conley's house the night before the meet started.
Cole won the javelin with a throw of 139-2. The sophomore also took second and qualified for state in the discus with a mark of 110-11. She fell just shy of qualifying in the shot out, taking third with a toss of 33-8.
Hannah Wilson will return to the state meet after finishing third in the 3,000 in 11:31.02. The second-place finisher from Philomath elected not to run the 3,000 at state, opening a spot for Wilson.
Phillips joined with Ethan Muncrief, Prescott and McElravy for a 44.79 and first in the 400 relay.
Phillips also won the 100 in 11.40, nipping McElravy by .01 of a second. Phillips took first in the 200 in 22.84, giving him a team-high total of 25 points.
Prescott won the 400 in 50.81, and Francisco Vega was the runner-up in the shot put with a throw of 45-10. Cleland took second in the discus with a mark of 127-10.
Justin Cuellar won the javelin with a throw of 164-0. He only threw twice because of an elbow problem.
"He has a bum elbow, so he threw just enough to make sure he'd win." Conley said. "We're having him ice it and stretch it and do therapy all week. He's not going to throw at all this week. We're just going to hope for the best."
McElravy had an interesting time on the meet's first day, bouncing between the running preliminaries and the baseball field. He played center field for the Panthers in their 11-1 defeat of Taft.
"It worked out," Conley said. "He scratched out of the 200 because it would have been right in the middle of the baseball game. He got the 100 preliminaries done before the baseball game started.
"He makes a huge difference in those two relays. The reason the 400 relay has a chance to score at state is because of him, and he adds a whole lot to the four-by-400 team. I believe that's the first time we've won the four-by-400 at district since 1979."
The Class 3A state meet will be held May 20-21 at Hayward Field in Eugene.
"Our four-by-400 team wants to win (state)," Conley said. "We're the number one seed, and that's our premier event. I'd like to see Michael make it through (to the finals) in all four events. I'd like to see us score in every singe event we're entered in. That would be super."