GRESHAM — Ben Carringer built a four-bedroom house atop the podium at the Class 4A state track and field championships.
One bedroom to hold his medal in the 100 meters, another for his first-place finish in the 200, another for his first-place finish in the long jump and a final room with that he shares with the three members of the 4x100 relay team that also took home the gold.
Not bad for the junior that in reality should have been competing in the 2A/1A state meet held at Western Oregon.
Because New Horizon Christian didn’t field a track and field team this spring, Carringer needed a team to compete with and Mazama had a spot for him.
It would be an advantageous pairing for both parties. Carringer got to prove his talents on a bigger stage, scoring the most points of all the competitors, and the Mazama boys track team would finish second overall behind the champion Newport Cubs.
“The kids came out and did what they had to do,” said head coach Justin Davidson. “They performed at a high level. To be able to be able to take second place with an astounding number of PR’s is just great.”
Winning all four events he was in, Carringer finished the 100 in 11.18 seconds, the 200 in 22.68, the long jump with a 21 feet, 7¼ inches and anchored the 4x100 relay team — with Leighton Alexander, Chad Remstedt and Aidan Kindt — that came back and barely won with a time of 42.98 — the second fastest time in school history.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Carringer said. “I just wanted to go out and run my races and let the chips fall where they may. It turned out in my favor today, which I’m really excited about.”
Going against better competition on a day-in-day-out basis helped Carringer reach this level of excellence. Before, he said, he would only really being able competing against himself. Now he’s facing tougher completion regularly.
“Making the jump from 1A to 4A was way different “Carringer said. “It made me a way better athlete.”
Having Carringer on the team also helped the Vikings. It helped raise the competitiveness in practices, in a good way.
“Instead of having negative competition, last year I felt we had that, where guys want to beat each other because they don’t like each other,” Davidson said. “This year, with Ben’s addition and a couple of my returners, it’s been a positive competition where guys want to go back and forth and try and beat one another.”
Also finishing on the podium for the Vikings was the 4x400 relay team of Bryan Partida, Kole Phair, Mason Uso and Jake Healy which finished fourth with a time of 3:29.87.
Kindt, a freshman who was seeded eighth finished fifth in the 200 with a time of 24:16. Healy finished third in the 800 with a time of 1:57.92 and Phair surprised his coach with 4:11.46 to finish fifth in the 1500.
“He gave us a big lift in the 1,500,” Davidson said. “That helped a lot. We weren’t expecting that.”