Sailors sail onto 1A track and field state championships

1. Mapleton Senior Joe Shepard has been trying to break the 41-foot mark on the triple jump all season. He did it at district on May 13 when he jumped 41’1’. 2. Opal Burruss, a senior at MHS, won the 1500m at district on May 13. Though Burruss earned a spot at state, she will decline to compete because of other athletic commitments. 3. Junior Emily Neece joined the Mapleton track team halfway through the season. Even with only part of a season to prepare, she still claimed third place in the shot put at districts. (Photos by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News)

Burruss, Shepard earn chance to represent MHS at Hayward

May 17, 2022 — The small but mighty Mapleton track and field team traveled to McKenzie on Friday, May 13, for the 1A Special District 2 Championships. This event would decide who would move on to the OSAA 1A State Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.

The Burruss sisters, Helen and Opal, along with Joe Shepard and Emily Neece, made up the Mapleton team at district.

Senior Shepard continued to improve in his specialty event, the triple jump. On his final jump of the day, he leapt 41’1, a personal record and enough for the district championship, edging North Lake’s Noah Roth, whose top jump was 39’5.

Shepard has been looking to break 41 feet all season and jumped in celebration when the judge announced his mark.

Shepard also had a great day in the high jump. He tied his personal record with a 5’8 jump, which was enough to earn a second place tie and a chance for him to compete in two events next weekend at the track and field capital of America, Hayward Field in Eugene.

Elijah Wytcherley of Glendale won the high jump when he jumped 5’11.

For the girls, top performer was senior Opal Burruss. Opal, who came into district with the fifth best 1500 time in 1A, was the clear favorite in the race and she did not disappoint.

She led the race from the start and won by almost four seconds with a time of 5:38.78a. Second place was Jordan Zumhofe of New Hope Christian (Grants Pass), who finished in 5:42.18a.

Burruss also plays for a nationally ranked Ultimate Frisbee team, which has a very important match next weekend, so Burruss will not compete at the state track and field meet.

Emily Neece, a junior, had a great day competing in two throwing events.

Neece took home a third place ribbon in the shot put with a 28’9.75 throw. She also threw 66’5 in the discus.

Freshman Helen Burruss also represented Mapleton when she threw the discus 36’5.

North Lake High of Silver Lake finished at the top of the girls standings with 91 points, edging second place North Douglas of Drain who had 78.

On the boys side, the winner was Pacific from Port Orford, who scored 78 points. Mapleton’s rival Triangle Lake was second with 70 points.

The OSAA 1A Track and Field State Championships are May 19 to 20 at Hayward Field in Eugene. Shepard’s two events are both Friday. The high jump is at 10 a.m. and the triple jump is scheduled for 5 p.m.

To track Shepard’s progress at state, go to