A rivalry rekindled at Oregon Relays

Sabrina Moore (right) edged past Dominique Keel in the final 10 meters of the 200 at the Oregon Relays on Saturday in Eugene, Ore. Robert Rosenberg/ESPNHS


EUGENE, Ore. -- It was about two months ago that Sabrina Moore of North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) sent a message to the meet director of the Oregon Relays to ask if she could compete.

Ross Krempley needed only a moment to think it over.

"I thought it was so cool," said Krempley, the meet director and founder of RunnerSpace.com.

Moore moved to North Carolina last summer when her father got a new job, but she is the reigning Oregon Class 6A champion in the 100 meters. And the last time she was at Hayward Field, running for Southeridge (Beaverton, Ore.) she had split the two sprint races with Metro League rival Dominique Keel of Westview (Beaverton, Ore.).

A rivalry that seemed torn apart came back around on Saturday at the Oregon Relays, and the competition produced personal records from both sprinters.

Moore, a junior who spent her freshman and sophomore years in Oregon, matched her PR in the 100 when she ran 11.92 to Keel's PR of 12.01. Later, in the 200, Moore went past Keel in the last eight meters to take a second victory in 24.41 for her best time in that event. Keel was second in a wind-legal best time of 24.60.

"I haven't had anyone to push me in dual meets, so for (Moore) to come back it's a way for me to get better," Keel said.

After the initial request to Krempley for a spot in the meet, he promptly replied with a "yes." But then it took more than a month to get approval from the North Carolina state association. In the meantime, the Moores bought airline tickets and 10 days before the meet Sabrina learned she was cleared to run.

"It's good to see family and friends, my old coaches," Moore said. "I love running on this track."

Moore and Keel aren't necessarily close. Outside of track meets, they don't know each other. But they can both recognize that their competition has made them better.

Sunny, warm weather over two days caused performances to blossom in corner of the country that has been soaked by rain. In addition to participants from Alaska, Washington and California, many of Oregon's top programs vied for the co-ed team championship and winners' pizza party.

Two schools that sent teams to NXN last December, Summit of Bend, Ore. and Gig Harbor (Gig Harbor, Wash.) emerged as the primary contenders Saturday afternoon. Summit was without four of its top athletes, sidelined by injuries, but still had the overall depth to claim the title and the pizza,128.50 to 112.

Summit put the exclamation on the victory with a win in the boys 4x400 relay. One of the school's cross country stars, Ashley Maton, won the girls 800 (2:16.57).

Oregon's two biggest stars -- Thomas Tyner (Aloha) and Haley Crouser (Gresham) -- were both in action, but with much different outcomes.

Tyner, a University of Oregon football recruit and state record holder in the 100, has been slowed by a tender hamstring. He put it to the test on Saturday, running an explosive lead-off leg in the 4x100 relay to help Aloha post a meet record 42.11. But then, in the 100, Tyner went down to the track with a cramp in the back of his upper right thigh.

The injury was not considered serious. He was able to walk off the track, but the stresses of sprinting on his 220-pound frame have made staying healthy difficult. His goal this spring was to run 10.28 and qualify for a berth in the Olympic Trials, but each day of missed training hurts his chances of making it.

Crouser, who threw in the open women's javelin on Friday, said she might have been over-thinking her throws. She won the competition and threw 164-11. In the seven days following her record-setting throw (181-2), she attended her prom, competed in a Wednesday dual meet, and had a hard lifting day Thursday.

"There was a lot of emotion this whole last week with getting the national record. I was hoping to get a bigger throw," she said. "Disappointing a little, but oh well."

On Saturday, she competed in the open women's 100 hurdles (14.89) and high jump (5-4.50).

Gig Harbor got second-place finishers in the boys 800 (Will Drinkwater), 1,500 (Drinkwater), 3,000 (Wolfgang Beck), freshman 3,000 (Tristan Peloquin) and victories in the boys long jump (Justin Browne) and girls triple jump (Courtney Jost).

The team got a shot of inspiration on Friday when coach and Olympic hopeful Mark Wieczorek ran in the elite section of the 1,500 meters wearing a Gig Harbor singlet.

O'Dea (Seattle) junior Tatum Taylor doubled up in the sprints, cruising in the 100 after Tyner fell down to win in 10.65. And later, he crushed the field in the 200 (21.66).

Camas (Wash.) freshman Alexa Efraimson turned it on late to pull away from St. Mary's (Portland) sophomore Paige Rice to win the 1,500 in 4:34.23.