Clackamas Community College’s track and field program hosted the Cougar Open at Oregon City High School’s Pioneer Stadium Saturday, April 20. The meet was the eighth meet the Cougars have competed in this season. Overall Clackamas has qualified 12 athletes in 16 events for the NWAC Championships.
The most prolific athlete on the men’s or women’s teams might be sophomore J.J. Walker. Walker has qualified for the NWAC championships in the high jump, pole vault, javelin and the decathlon. Walker had a great season last year and perhaps a better one this season. “I’m feeling pretty good honestly,” Walker said. “I’m hitting my PRs and keep working hard.”
Walker credits a unique regimen of hard training and film studying to his success in multiple events.
“If I were to do javelin, hurdles and long jump one day when I go home I watch a video on pole vault, shot put and high jump,” Walker said. “I get that visualization of what I’m going to be doing next time I practice those events the next day. All these techniques take so much patience because you’re not going to learn them that fast.”
On the women’s side Essence Foster has stood out as an outstanding athlete as she has qualified in the 400-meter hurdle, the long jump and the heptathlon. Foster also won the 400m hurdles at Saturday’s meet with a time of 1:05.65, a mere 0:00.05 ahead of Haley White from Eastern Oregon.
Foster also ran on Clackamas’ 4×100 meter relay team with Kiara Johnson, Cecilia Munoz and Grace Boyle. The team finished third and posted a qualifying time of 49.74 seconds.
The women’s jumpers had a great day at the Cougars open as Jillian Sharp tied for fourth place in the women’s high jump, reaching a qualifying height of 1.52 meters. Alyssa Smith finished first in the pole vault clearing 3.35m which also qualified her for the NWAC championship.
Mercedes Pesina led the way for Clackamas’ women throwers as she finished third in the javelin with a toss of 37.85 meters.
“This weekend was really good,” Pesina said. “I got another big PR, I had already qualified for NWAC championships, but to keep going up is a really big accomplishment.”
The men’s side of the Cougars program saw three athletes post qualifying marks in four events at the Cougar Open with freshman Anthony Garcia’s 1.92 meter high jump, Walker’s 4.42 meter pole vault and his 6.50 meter long jump and Briggs Tatom 44.18 meters in the hammer throw.
“It was a good meet for most of us,” Tatom said. “It felt good to qualify and get some stress off.”
Freshman Jason Miller didn’t post a qualifying time in the 200 meter but finished in third place in a closely contested race. Miller only finished 0.03 seconds ahead of the fourth place runner.
Freshman Tre Hamilton finished fourth in the 800 meter race with a time of 1:58.14 and finished sixth in the 1,500 meter with a time of 4:07.38
“One of the highlights of the meet was Tre Hamilton in our distance events,” Head Coach Keoni Mitchell said. “[Hamilton] set a one second lifetime [personal record] in the 800 meter race and an eight second PR in the 1,500 meter and then a great anchor leg in the 4 by 4.” Throughout the season Clackamas has already captured great successes and have four more meets to capture more qualifying times, heights and distances to get as many athletes in the NWAC championships. The Cougars will travel to Corvallis this weekend to participate in the OSU High Performance meet on April 26 and 27.