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INDEPENDENCE – As the rain kept hitting the ground, so did the feet.

Amidst pouring rain and harsh winds, the Central High School Panthers track and field team competed against Dallas and West Albany on April 10.

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“I’m not usually used to these kinds of breezes in comparison to these other races I’ve had to deal with,” junior Gavin Grass of Dallas said. 

But despite the conditions, Grass pushed through the inclement weather during the 1,500-meter race, lapping his competitors and gliding through the finish-line at 4:29.81.

“I just kept focusing on trying to find where the wind was going and the direction (of the wind) and using it when it was at my back,” Grass said. “If I had a chance to look behind me, I probably might have slowed down just a bit.”

In the 110-meter hurdles, senior Jaydon Aydelotte of Central claimed first place and a new personal record, crossing the finish line in a time of 15.48.

Even after his display on the track, Aydelotte said he just wanted to make sure he showed respect to his teammates by doing his best in the race.

“Since this is our first sort of home-meet, it was kind of a race I wanted to be proud of,” he said with a smile. “I’m just happy to be our here and healthy for my last season.”

In the women’s 1,500, Senior Diana Nye of Central set a PR and seized third place, clocking in at 5:40.77.

For Nye, this was also a race about school pride.

“A lot of our fast girls left in the last couple seasons. I really miss them, they were my seniors,” Nye said. “But I like to think about them before I race, and that really helps.”

In other track events, senior Malaki Connella and sophomore Clayton Morrow, both of Dallas, clinched the top two spots in the men’s 100-meter dash. Connella sprinted to a 10.96 finish and Morrow a 11.39 finish, respectively, both setting new PRs.

For the women’s 300-meter hurdles, freshman Sophie Bliss of Central toppled the competition by clearing the hurdles in a time of 48.93 and taking first place.

Out on the field, senior Sophia Henke of Central placed first in the high jump and long jump, and third in the triple jump. Henke landed a 5-00.00, 15-07.50, and 32-00.50, respectively.

Senior Logan Ayers of Central cleared 11-00.00 in the men’s pole vault, sailing over second place by a whole two-feet. 

In the triple jump and high jump, senior Jack Anderson leapt to a first-place finish in both events, landing a 37-05.00 in the triple jump and 5-06.00 in the high jump. 

In the girls javelin, five Dragons rounded out the third through seventh-place finishes, with Krista Cook uncorking a 100-02.50 for third place, Maya Davison, at 91-11.50 for fourth place and a PR, Taylor Williamson at 86-01.00 for fifth place and a PR, Jenna Carey with 78-08.00 for sixth place and a PR, and Madelyn Strauss at 76-04.00 for seventh place and a PR.

On Saturday, the Panthers traveled to the Willamette Falls Invitational, where the boys team took 24th place with five points. The girls team didn’t place.

In the boys 1,500, senior Johnathon Brown took fourth place, crossing the line at 4:12.55.

On April 17, Central will host North Salem and Lebanon, starting at 3:45 p.m., and Dallas will travel to Crescent Valley, with the first even beginning at 3:30 p.m.

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