MILTON-FREEWATER — The Mac-Hi Pioneers have two safe bets to make it out of the Greater Oregon League district track and field meet in La Grande this week and into the Class 4A State Championships.
Both sprinter Nathan Dombrosky and javelin thrower Pancho Saldana are leading the GOL in their events this season and by a wide margin. They’ll look to uphold their leads when the two-day meet kicks off at Eastern Oregon University on Friday at 3 p.m.
Saldana’s mark of 203 feet, 6 inches broke a school record — also previously held by Saldana — and ranks far beyond any other competitor’s dreams this season. He’s out-thrown all of 4A by more than 16 feet and is 35 feet ahead of any GOL athlete.
“It’s just been a confidence year for him,” the coach said. “He knows he’s the best thrower and he doesn’t waste any throws. I think every meet but one he’s been better than then No. 2 guy.”
In fact, even his least beastly throw — a 170-foot shot in the prelims of the Baker Invite last week — surpassed La Grande’s Leon Fuller, the GOL’s second best javeliner with a 168-7 mark on his resume.
“I’m really excited to see what’s going to come out this Saturday and next Saturday,” Saldana said about the district and state meets.
Dombrosky is leading the conference in the 200-meter run with a time of 22.75 seconds, almost a half second better than any challenger. His time in the 100 meters is also strong at 11.20, only 0.01 seconds behind the top runner that he’ll see at this week’s meet.
On the girls’ side, Mica Epifanio is leading the GOL in the long jump, but only by a quarter of an inch. Her jump of 15-11.25 that she scored last week in Baker was five inches superior to her previous season best and bumped her from fifth to first in the league rankings.
Milleson said he is also expecting top times from his boys’ and girls’ relay teams with shots at moving on to the state meet next weekend at the University of Oregon. The relay teams rank in the Top 3 in the GOL in both the 4x100 and 4x400 races.
Mac-Hi has a deeper squad in 2012 than they have had in years, Milleson said, and the coach anticipates as many as 16 of his athletes making the trip to the state meet.
“Maybe we could finish out of the ‘also ran’ category this year,” he joked.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at ajmazzolini@eastoregonian or (541) 966-0839.