With track and field season in full swing, members of the Camas boys’ track and field team are gearing up for a run to repeat as state champions, a title it shared last year with three other 4A track and field teams.
The Papermakers’ talent and depth helped them win both the McMinnville Invitational on April 19 and a dual meet at Skyview on April 16. Once again leading the charge this season is senior mid-distance and distance runner Daniel Maton, a two-time state champion for Camas in both the 800 and 1,600 meters.
“I’m just trying to make the school records as hard to beat as possible,” Maton, who will be running for the University of Washington next season, said.
Sprinter Blake Derringer, who recently recovered from a football injury he suffered in the fall of 2018, has been winning races in the 100 meter all season and finished first in the 40 yard dash at McMinnville.
“I’m impressed with how everything has gone with the boys’ team and feel pretty good about it,” Derringer said.
Camas sprint coach Seanna Pitassi is pushing Derringer to compete in the longer, 400-meter events as well as the sprints because of what he did for the team at state last season.
“Blake helped us win state last year because he filled in on the 4-by-400 relay as an alternate to give Maton a much-needed rest,” Pitassi said. “He (Derringer) ran a really great split last year, so he really should be a part of that 4-by-100 team.”
Distance runner senior Jackson Lyne couldn’t run with the team last season due to a foot injury, but is recovered and back to compete this season.
“Last year at this time I was walking around in a boot, but this season I feel more fit and more confident than I ever have before,” Lyne said.
Sophomore Sam Geiger, who surprised everyone in the 4A state cross-country championships in the fall of 2018, beating both Maton and Lyne, has become another powerful weapon for the Papermakers. Lyne said Geiger has made everyone on the team closer because of his hard work and fearless attitude.
“He just knows his body and what he needs to do each day to make sure he’s ready when it counts,” Lyne said.
Depth is secret to success
Camas head track and field coach Jon Eagle said what makes his team so special this season is depth, something the Camas track and field program works hard to achieve by attracting young talent.
“We had middle-schoolers come to practice recently, and they were having so much fun,” Eagle said. “Our strength is our numbers, and I guess our weakness is our numbers because we have so many kids to coach. But it’s great because it gives us our depth.”
Leading Camas in field events is senior Matt Williams, who finished eighth in the javelin event at the 2018 4A state track and field meet, but plans on winning it all for his final year in high school.
“I’m pacing myself. Last year I burned myself out with 15-step full approaches all season, but this year I’m just doing seven steps and working up slowly so I peak at the right time,” Williams, who threw a personal record of 178 feet, 9 inches to win the McMinnville Invitational, said.
Micah Harimoto jumped 22 feet to win the long jump at Skyview and also won the top spot at McMinnville. Tyler Knoeppel won the high jump at McMinnville, elevating 5-10 over the bar.