SHS makes mark at Hayward

Photos by Becky Holbrook/

Central Coast Invite Friday at Hans Petersen

April 27, 2023 — High school track and field athletes in Florence may not understand how lucky they are. Just a little over an hour's drive, in Eugene, is Hayward Field, the “Mecca” of track and field. 

“Anytime kids have a chance to compete at Hayward Field in high school it is just an incredible opportunity,” explained Siuslaw Track & Field Head Coach Chris Johnson. “When people say its the finest track and field facility in the world, that’s not an understatement. Hayward is a living, breathing shrine to not just Oregon track and field but track and field in general.”

For two days last weekend qualifiers on the Siuslaw Viking track team got a chance to compete at this special location, a preview of what they will see when they return to Hayward for the state championships at the end of May. The Oregon Relays are a two-day event that includes some of the top high school track athletes from Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho. Siuslaw was one of the smallest schools entered into the event.

There were a handful of great performances on the boys side for Siuslaw. 

First senior Kyle Hughes, who is the rare combination pole vaulter/distance runner.

“I’ve been coaching distance runners and pole vaulters at Siuslaw since 1995,” said Johnson. “It's always been kind of a running joke for me to say ‘I want to be the first to coach the best pole vault/distance runner combination of all time'. I’ve had a couple kids who were decent pole vaulters and good runners but we really haven’t had anyone to this caliber.”

On Friday, the first day of the event, Hughes won his heat in the 2-mile race with a personal record time of 9:52.12 in the rarely-raced event. The next day, he increased his PR in the pole vault with a vault of 14’11.25, the top mark in 3A this year. 

Another top performer on the boys side was senior John Rose who continues to show that he’s one of the top throwers in 3A. He set a personal record in the discus with a throw of 141 '2.5 and also threw javelin, both in the intense environment of Hayward. 

“You feel like you’re under a microscope and John walked into the ring and had a great series of throws,” said Johnson. “To PR in that situation is great.”

Another impressive performance was from some athletes making their Hayward debut.

“Our hurdlers just continue to get better and better,” said Johnson. “Lucian [Murphy] wasn’t a factor last year but I’ll give him credit— he’s worked really hard over the course of his career. He started working with Coach Anderson in January and he just keeps getting better. Noel Hernandez was last year’s late season hurdle phenom and he's getting better. He’s starting to figure out the “highs” [high hurdles] and ran 16:08 which is pretty close to two or three in 3A right now.”

On the girls side it was three distance runners who competed for Siuslaw at the event; freshman Alison Hughes, sophomore Maya Wells and junior Corduroy Holbrook.

Hughes fought hard in the 2-mile race and set a school record when she finished 11:59.85.

“Alison has a way of not letting the moment get to her,” said Johnson.

Wells ran a personal record in the mile when she finished in 5:36.32. That mark puts her third all-time in Siuslaw history. 

“Maya ran great,” said Johnson. “She kinda got gapped but fought to stay in the race.”

Holbrook ran her best 800 of the season at the Oregon Relays, finishing in 2:30.22.

“With Corduroy we kind of amped her up to go a lot harder than she normally does,” said Johnson. “She wasn’t too happy about it but she did what we told her to do and it was good to see her get out there and throw her hat in the ring.”

Next up for the Viks is a home meet Friday, the Central Coast Invitational.

“We love to compete here,” said Johnson. “We love our facilities. We love our home cooking. We love having our fans around.”

The meet is at Hans Petersen Memorial Field. Field events start at 4 p.m. Running events at 5:30 p.m. 

“It’s nice to get a chance to see some running in the twilight,” says Johnson. It’s a really great environment. We’d really love people to come out.”

Tickets can be purchased at the gates or online here