South Albany High senior Kaimana Caspino is making the most of the track and field season after missing her sophomore year due to injury and last year to the pandemic.
She opened this spring with a personal-best toss of 33-3¼ which puts her sixth in the 5A classification and second among Mid-Willamette Conference competitors this season.
“She’s just super happy to be out here and be able to compete because it’s been so long,” RedHawks coach Jeff Louber said. “Given the opportunity to compete as a senior has been terrific for her.”
Caspino, who also throws the discus, came into high school with the goal of being a collegiate athlete and is making strides in that direction.
Louber says her positive attitude, despite the setbacks, rubs off on her teammates.
“Kaimana is one of the best leaders I’ve been around in any sport,” the coach said. “She has a very courageous heart, a very caring heart. Kids want to follow her and she sets a very good example for kids to follow.”
Stefan to be a Bronco
When the coronavirus took hold of the world last year, Emily Stefan feared that her chances of becoming an NCAA Division I track athlete were “out the window.”
But in the end, the West Albany senior’s fast times caught the attention of college coaches and in November she committed to Boise State.
Because of the extended dead period in recruiting, Stefan wasn’t able to make an official trip to Boise. So instead she drove to Idaho and took an admissions tour and was able to meet several athletes in the process. Of the schools she considered, Boise State seemed like the right fit.
“I was able to get a little sneak peek into what it’s like there, which is amazing. I’m so glad I got that opportunity,” she said.
In Boise, she will join current Crescent Valley senior distance runner Sunitha Black, who will also compete for the Broncos.
The pressure to attract possible college suitors with good results this spring was off, but that hasn’t stopped Stefan from wanting to perform well.
So far this season, she has times of 12.37 seconds in the 100 meters and 25.88 in the 200 plus a personal-best mark of 17-9 in the long jump, an event she’s competing in for the first time in a high school singlet. All three are tops in 5A this spring.
Those results put her fifth among all classifications in the state in the 100 and long jump and sixth in the 200. Her long jump mark would have been No. 2 in 5A for the 2019 season.
“My goals are just to run fast and maybe earn some scholarship money if it could happen. This season I’m just running for myself,” Stefan said.
Monroe junior Laura Young tossed the shot put 42-2½ to win a meet in Waldport last week.
That mark puts her fourth on the 2A girls all-time list in the event, just behind Monroe alum Jessica Warden, who threw 42-3 in 1996. It’s also the top throw by a junior in 2A girls history. It puts Young third among all classifications in the state this season.
She’s also thrown the discus 116-2, which leads the 2A season list.
In 2019, Young set the 2A freshman shot put record of 39-2¾ in winning the state title.
Calkins on top
Tristan Calkins has put his name out there with fast times and good marks already this season.
The Sweet Home senior leads the 4A boys season lists in the 100 (11.38, PR), 200 (23.20) and long jump (20-10).
Philomath’s Brody Bushnell is second on the 4A boys 1,500 list at 4:12.58. He’s helped the Warriors to the top 4x400 relay time (3:35.31). Teammate and fellow sophomore Mateo Candanoza is second in the 3,000 (9:36.4).
Ingrid Hellesto, another Philomath sophomore, is second on the 4A girls 800 list (2:32.6).
It might be the year of the sophomore in area track and field.
Scio’s Carrie Jones (3A girls 400, 1:07.95) and Athena Lau (3A girls 3,000, 12:05.8) and Santiam Christian’s Caleb Ness (3A boys javelin, 174-9), all sophomores, lead their respective season lists. In addition, Santiam Christian sophomore Jayden Christy is tied for second in the high jump on the 3A boys season list at 6-2.
East Linn Christian senior Grant Davidson is first in the 2A boys discus this season at 133-5.
Jesse Sowa can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @JesseSowaGT.