PERRYDALE — Amity Deters won’t get another chance to defend last year’s three high school state titles in track and field.
“When I first heard that (this season) had been canceled, I had kind of been expecting it because the season kept getting postponed and postponed, and I kind of felt in my gut that they weren’t going to happen,” Deters said. “But when I thought, before that, that we would at least get to have some meets, I was kind of heartbroken. But I can’t really say that it was this sudden feeling of ‘I won’t get to have my season anymore,’ but more of a gradual buildup. … I’m obviously very upset about it, but it’s a necessary thing to do, and I think that everybody around the nation is feeling it, and it’s OK to be upset, but also we need to move past it.”
The Perrydale High School graduate has had some to process the loss of her final high school track and field season with the Pirates since the Oregon Schools Activities Association made the announcement on April 8, but it still wasn’t what she had envisioned for her final months in high school.
“I was looking forward to my senior night, and a bunch of new people joined the team, so I was excited to see how they performed, and how the people coming back performed, and how I performed,” she said. “I was really excited for the meets — I was going to go down to a meet in Klamath Falls and compete against some good competition, so I was really excited for that too. And theoretically we were supposed to compete at the renovated Hayward Field at state, but obviously that got canceled, so that’s kind of disappointing too.”
Deters showed promise as a jumper when she was crowned state champion in the high jump as a sophomore. Then, last year, Deters was crowned state champion again in the high jump, with a mark of 5-03, as well as in long jump, leaping to a distance of 17-05.50, and in triple jump, covering 35-04.75.
She was getting ready to hit even higher marks in those events this year.
“I think my No. 1 goal was to repeat what I did last year, and maybe even try to compete in a new, fourth event,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what that was going to be, whether it was going to be the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter, or hurdles — we hadn’t figured that out yet. As far as numbers go, I wanted to reach 18 feet in long jump; 36 feet in triple jump and I wanted to hit 5’5 again in high jump, because I only did that once last year.”
Her competitive edge and drive is why Brian Evans, head track and field coach at Perrydale, nominated Deters as the IO’s Athlete of the Year for track and field.
“Amity is a rare athlete,” Evans said. “She’s the best track and field athlete to ever come out of Perrydale … On top of her athletic ability, she has a cumulative GPA of 4.0 and already has earned 20 college credits. I can’t imagine anyone more deserving than her.”
Evans said Deters helped to make him a better coach.
“Coaching a kid like Amity has been a blessing and a privilege for us,” he said. “She doesn’t know it, but she pushed us (coaches) to bring out the best in her, and so we would push her and she always responded without complaint. … Beyond her athletic ability, she is just a good person. I will miss her, but the memories I have of her will never go away.”
Her high school athletic career may be over, but Deters won’t have to hang up her track spikes just yet.
On March 3, she signed her letter of intent to compete on Western Oregon University’s track and field team.
“I was looking to go out of state for awhile, like in Washington, but everything was just too expensive for me,” she said. “WOU was a really great option for me, financially and athletically.”
Deters’ mom graduated from there, and its close proximity to home was another appealing factor for Deters.
“I’ve always been around WOU,” she said. “My mom graduated from there and it’s pretty close by. We used to have rental houses right by the campus, and so as a kid, when my parents were working on the rental house, I would go play by the campus … and the state meet was at WOU last year, so I’ve just been super familiar with it. And I thought it was a really beautiful campus.”
In March, she visited the campus, met with a lot of the track team, and sat in on a high jump practice.
She said she plans on competing in the high, long and triple jumps, and possibly sprints.
She’ll miss being a three-sport athlete, but she’s excited about narrowing her focus down.
“I really like playing three sports, like I love basketball and I love soccer, but the downside is that I only get three months out of the year to work on track and field,” she said, “so one of the things I’m looking forward to is being able to train all year-round, and I think that will greatly improve my skill.”
Evans is looking forward to seeing her improvement.
“I am planning on watching every meet of hers that I can for the next four years,” he said. “I am so excited for her, and very happy she chose WOU over many other schools. She even had an offer to sign at West Point. New York would have been a long way to go to watch a track meet.”
Deters said if it wasn’t for Evans and her other coaches, she probably wouldn’t be the jumper that she is.
“I would like to thank my coaches - there have been a lot of them - but especially Brian Evans and Kelby Evans; they really helped me grow as an athlete, and as a person too,” she said.