South Salem athlete finishes career with 13 district championships
By Bill Poehler • Salem Statesman Journal

May 15, 2008
Rebecca Rhodes and the South Salem High School girls track and field team finished off a stellar four-year streak in district meets Wednesday.

Rhodes won the triple jump and 100 hurdles to finish her district career with 13 individual championships and 154 out of a possible 160 points.

TIMOTHY J. GONZALEZ | Statesman JournalSouth Salem's Rebecca Rhodes (right) clears a hurdle Wednesday on her way to winning the 100-meter hurdles during the Central Valley district track meet at McCulloch Stadium. South Salem's Katie Sime (left) and McNary's Megan Hingston tried to stay close.

The Saxons won their third district championship in four years, scoring 141 points, 12 more than second-place McNary in the meet at McCulloch Stadium.

We're a little bitter about the fourth one still because we lost by a half a point, South Salem coach Rob Wood said with a laugh.

This has been an incredible senior group, but ... we've got a really good junior group, Katie Sime and Camille Knospe, the pole vault and hurdles and those guys, some of our other relay members and some of our other throwers.

We've had a few good classes in a row. Obviously we're going to have a really difficult time losing the seniors we've got. We're excited that we'll be pretty good again. We're just going to enjoy the heck out of this. The girls, I had us pegged to score 124 and we scored 141, and so they just stepped it up huge in every way imaginable.

Rhodes won three district championships this year: the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter hurdles.

She also placed second in the 100 meter dash.

I'm happy with how I did, said Rhodes, a two-time state champion in the long jump and champion in triple jump last year. I don't think I could have asked for a better day. Coming off injury, I did the best I could. I'm excited for state.

Athletes who finished in the top two in each event qualify for the Class 6A state meet May 22-24 at Eugene's Hayward Field.

South Salem had wins in six events.

In three of those events, the Saxons had all three of their district participants place.

In the 100 hurdles, Rhodes beat out teammate Sime with a time of 15.08 seconds to Sime's 15.46, and Knospe finished fifth.

In the 300 hurdles, South Salem sophomore Kelsey Moe won the event with a time of 45.15, winning by more than a second in front of McNary sophomore Megan Hingston. Sime placed third and Knospe was seventh.

In Tuesday's javelin, Danielle Hayward won by almost four feet, with teammates Erica Puopolo in fifth and Erin Edmonds in seventh.

On Wednesday, Sime won the pole vault with a mark of 10 feet, a foot better than second-place Jenna Stewart of Redmond, who beat out Knospe for second based on missed jumps.

I think we've all thought about it as a possibility, but in the end, it's just about getting together and having good times and becoming a good team and having fun, Moe said of her team's fortunes.

It's not the most important thing, but it's definitely something we strive for, I guess.

Rhodes won the triple jump with a mark of 36-10Πinches, beating out McKay junior Jennifer Roberts by more than a foot.

I'm always happy to contribute to my team. I don't really realize how ... I don't know, said Rhodes, who has signed to compete in track and field at Oregon. I just go out there to win and hopefully that happens. I don't really look at the overall, past years and stuff. Anybody can take it.

Rhodes was the league athlete of the year, along with West Salem senior Kyley Sexton.

Sexton won the high jump, equaling her personal record at 5-3, the 400 in 58.90, ran on the winning 400 relay team with Alyssa Molina, Jenny Ward and Lyn Robinson and the second-place 1,600 relay team.

It's really exciting because this year I finally broke my 60 mark and I had my overall PR yesterday, I was a 58 and I was really excited for that, said Sexton, who will play volleyball at San Diego State. It's exciting to make it past that benchmark.

McKay sophomore Kiarra Marchbanks swept the 100 and 200 meters.

Marchbanks beat out Rhodes in the 100 with a personal record time of 12.42 seconds to Rhodes' 12.71.

In the beginning, it was totally nervewracking, I was like, oh my God, I'm going to lose to Rebecca, I had no confidence, said Marchbanks, sister of district shot put champion Anna Marchbanks. Once I started praying to God and I know that he gave me the courage to run. After that, I just finished the race 110 percent, so it just pushed me.

She also won the 200 in 25.75 by more than half a second in front of second-place Carolanne Powers of McNary.

McNary sophomore Amy Jones upset McKay senior Janelle Everetts in the 800 meters.

Jones ran a 2:21.10, a full second in front of Everetts. It was a reverse of their finish of last season.

Jones also teamed with Lauren Brouse, Megan Phipps and Kayla Perry to win the 1,600 relay in a time of 4:03.73.

It feels, it's just unbelievable, Jones said. I'm just so excited that I can just be here and run. And then just to get a chance to go to the state meet and just run against all the great runners there, I'm just so excited for that.

In other events Wednesday, North Salem junior Beth Dougherty won the discus for the second straight year with a mark of 117-3, five feet better than West Salem's Ariel Beyer.

Redmond's Kris Thomasberg Thomasberg beat out Everetts in the 1,500 with a time of 4:59.91. or (503) 399-6701