Sydney Keller added another state championship to her resumé at Baker High School, winning the pole vault at the Class 4A state track meet on Saturday, May 22 and leading the Bulldogs to an eighth-place finish in the girls team standings.
The Baker boys placed 22nd in the meet that took place May 21 and 22 at Siuslaw High School in Florence. As with other state competitions during the pandemic, the meet was not sanctioned by the Oregon School Activities Association.
“I was just so ecstatic, and really relieved honestly,” said Keller, a senior who won a state wrestling championship in 2020 and was a member of Baker’s 2019 state championship basketball team. “I’ve been training really hard, and going and training with coaches. I’ve done a lot of work with different coaches in pole vault and different things and areas to become better. I’m just really happy it finally clicked.”
Keller cleared 10 feet. Her teammate and fellow senior, Salena Bott, finished eighth with a vault of 8 feet, 6 inches, a personal record.
Keller competed in the 400-meter race on Friday, May 21, setting a personal record at 1:05.25 but finishing 12th in the preliminaries and not qualifying for the finals.
Though she admits she was frustrated, Keller returned the following day to compete in three events — pole vault, triple jump and as a member of Baker’s 4-by-400 relay team.
Baker coach Suzy Cole said Keller thrived on the hectic day, in which she had to run to the pole vault area between competing in other events.
“I was pole vaulting, and then after two heights in pole vault, I would have to run around the entire field and go over to triple jump, and I got a couple of triple jumps in, and then run back around to pole vault,” Keller said.
Keller placed sixth in the triple jump with a leap of 32 feet, 6 inches.
Back at the pole vault, Keller set a personal record at 9 feet, 3 inches, improving the record of 9 feet, 1/4 inch she set as a freshman.
“It was kind of haunting me since then,” Keller said.
Keller went toe-to-toe with Marshfield freshman Roxy Day, who cleared 9 feet, 9 inches.
Keller then made it over the bar at 10 feet, improving her previous record by nearly a full foot.
“It was the best feeling ever,” Keller said.
Cole was excited to see Keller finish strong.
“She competed tough, that was an exciting way to watch her go out,” Cole said.
Keller was one of the six girls representing Baker High during the two-day meet.
Sophomore Jozie Ramos finished ninth in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) and 10th in the shot put (29-6).
Junior Emma Baeth finished third in the 800 with a new personal best of 2:26.08.
“She was a little disappointed with her time, (but) I wasn’t at all, given it was a four-week season,” Cole said. “It’s just hard to get the speed for all the times. Emma ran by far her most strategic race of her career.”
Sophomore Anna Belding placed fifth (1:01.37) in the 400 meters.
Sophomore Sydnee Pierce teamed with Baeth, Belding and Keller to take second in the 4-by-400 relay, finishing in 4:15.55.
“They ran great. Anna Belding ran our first leg, she got us out on a really strong lead,” Cole said. “Sydnee Pierce ran phenomenal, she had a great second leg. Keller and Baeth as always are super competitive, and kept us right in the dogfight the whole time.”
Baker’s 4-by-100 relay team of Kaden Myer, Malaki Myer, Wyatt Hawkins and Ian Jesenko placed fourth with a time of 45.49.
Jesenko, a senior, finished seventh in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 9.75 inches, and his teammate, Tate Powell, was 13th with a jump of 16-5.
“He was really hoping to get into the twenties, but he competed super hard and jumped well,” Cole said of Jesenko.
Junior Gauge Bloomer placed 13th in the javelin finals and was 11th in the 110 hurdles preliminaries.
Senior Kaden Myer was ninth in the 100 preliminaries.
“He ran really really well. He had a photo finish and unfortunately he finished 9th and didn’t make the finals,” Cole said. “I know he was a little disappointed in that, but I thought he ran great.”
Sophomore Reeve Damschen placed 11th in the pole vault, clearing 10 feet, 6 inches.
Baker’s 4-by-400 relay team — Diego Quintela, Angel DeArcos, Kaden Myer and his younger brother, freshman Malaki Myer, placed eighth with a time of 3:38.44.
Other Baker athletes who competed but either didn’t advance into or place in the finals include Quintela, who set a personal record of 55.96 in the 400 meters, sophomore Thaddeus Pepera in the high jump, sophomore Jordan Mills in the 800, Malaki Myer in the 200, and freshman Dash Bloomer in the 300 hurdles.
Cole said she was impressed by the performance of the underclassmen, and how they adapted to the pressure of a state competition with more than two dozen schools involved.
“They just did a great job of going with things, and of taking care of business,” Cole said.
Keller, competing in a state meet for the final time, was also happy with the weekend and the performance of the 17 other Bulldogs who made the trip across the state.
“I was super proud of my teammates for showing up, which can be very hard when you aren’t used to the environment,” Keller said.