Battle Ground girls track team notches win against Heritage

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The varsity track and field team at Battle Ground High School took part in its first meet on March 23 as athletes faced off against Kelso and Heritage high schools, securing a win against Heritage.

Coach Kevin Donovan is happy with the turnout of the team’s initial meet for the season.

“The meet was not bad,” said Donovan. “We have kids that are veterans, as we have a few of those that did pretty good. We also had some surprises with some of our younger kids.”

He said the effort from the new freshmen and sophomores was “outstanding.” Freshman Jayden Wertz secured 7 feet in the pole vault, which Donovan said was good for her first meet. Wertz also placed second in the 100-meter hurdles.

A returning player Donovan highlighted is junior Stacy Sutton, who won the 100-meter race at 13.58 seconds, and took second place in the 200-meter race at 28.48 seconds.

“Last year she was placed high in the district meet in the 100 and 200 (meter race), and she’s already showing herself running as fast as she did last year, so we’re looking for some improvement throughout the year,” Donovan said. “She’s a good leader too.”

Donovan said Sutton was originally a cross country runner with a “quiet personality.”

“She leads by example in her work ethic,” he said. “She’s a quiet leader but will speak up at times when necessary.”

Another returning runner is sophomore Faizah Ford, who placed second in the 100 meter with 13.64 seconds, and placed first in the 200 at 27.81 seconds. Ford also won the long jump with 15 feet 9 inches.

“With the combination of the two (Sutton and Ford), I think you have the best of both worlds,” Donovan said.

The team is doing what they can to catch up. Donovan said they had only two weeks of practice after the season ending in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also had a shortened season that ended in May of last year, where they only competed against schools in the 4A Greater St. Helen’s League.

For the first time in two years, Donovan said the team is expected to compete against schools in Oregon in April.

Donovan’s goals for the team remain consistent each year.

“It is a team sport, and we keep team scores, which is a bonus,” Donovan said. “But our goal is for each individual to improve their marks, whether it’s in running, throwing, or jumping. As long as they continue to get better, that’s what our goal is.”

He said the team is young this year, but features a positive attitude.

“They’re very energetic and we have a lot of student athletes this year,” Donovan said “They’re good people.”

Overall, the girls varsity track team lost against Kelso 66-82, but won against Heritage 78-45. The team also participated in a meet on Saturday, March 26, which featured 20 other teams from across Clark County. They placed 10th with a team score of 22.

Last season, the team placed eighth in districts.

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