The day after the middle school track and field season ended in Del Norte County, three athletes from Redwood Elementary made the trip north to Corvallis, Oregon for the Oregon Middle School Meet of Champions.

Redwood eighth graders Gianna Taylor and Bryson Price, and seventh grader Noah Burg all traveled north to compete in the largest meet so far this year. Only the top middle school performers in the entire state receive an invitation.

“It is pretty much the most competitive middle school meet in Oregon, so it is a hard meet to get into,” said Redwood track and field coach Scott Lindsay. “They only took the top 64 sprinters and in the field events they only took the top 32 or so.”

Lindsay said he wasn’t able to make the trip with the athletes because school was in session, but he was impressed when he saw their marks.

Taylor ended up finishing in ninth place in the 100 meter dash with a time of 13.23. She also finished in 12th place in the long jump with a mark of 14-10 and took 22nd in the 200 meter dash in 27.89.

“Gianna ran her season’s fastest 100,” Lindsay said. “It’s not her first time there — it is good training for her because she does the USATF track and field during the summer, so she will be going to some bigger track meets similar to that during the summer. So this is good practice for her for that.”

Price also had a busy day in Corvallis after qualifying in three separate events. Price finished in 24th place in the discus (100-08), 30th in the 100 meter dash (12.40) and 34th in the 200 meter dash (25.48).

“Bryson didn’t (run a personal record) in the 100, but he got a PR in the 200,” Lindsay said. “His disc wasn’t his best throw, but the fact that he made it there is a huge accomplishment.”

Burg only competed in one event at the Oregon Middle School Meet of Champions. After setting and subsequently breaking his own seventh grade county record in the 100 meter hurdles several times throughout the year, the Redwood seventh grader saved his best for last.

“Noah ran another personal best and it was an electronic time, so 15.34 is a great time,” Lindsay said. “He is going to be primed and ready for eighth grade next year. He should be chasing that eighth grade county record of 14.9.”

Burg’s time in Corvallis put him in 17th place overall, but he was one of just three seventh graders to break into the top 32 with a sub-16 second time. He ended up as the second-fastest seventh grader in attendance, finishing just 0.1 second behind the fastest seventh grade time.

“He should be back in the running next year,” Lindsay said.

As a seventh grader, Burg will have one more year of middle school track. Lindsay said he expects the young hurdler to leave a lasting impact in his eighth grade year.

“With him gaining all that experience this year I think he will be a big leader for our team,” Lindsay said. “He will be poised to break records and leave his mark on middle school track.”

Burg’s fastest time in the 100 meter hurdles is just 0.44 seconds behind the Del Norte County eighth grade record of 14.9, set in 1992 by Ben McClure. Burg also has a good shot at an eighth grade county record in the 200 meter hurdles where his fastest time this season (30.04) puts him just 0.2 seconds behind current record holder Aaron Mignon, who ran a time of 29.84 in 2015.

Meanwhile, both Taylor and Price will be moving on to the high school track team next spring. Lindsay said he expects both athletes to thrive as they move on to the next level.

“I just expect their times to get lower and lower, and their distances in the field events to get better and better,” Lindsay said. “When they get to high school they will have more practice time, they will have more individual coaching, and all of that is just going to help their careers sore, I think.”

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