McNary girls finish 1-2 in long jump

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

A friendly rivalry between two young gymnasts has moved to track and field and McNary High School is reaping the benefits.

When senior Alyssa Looney watched her teammate Courtney Giessinger long jump 17-00.05 at Oregon City on Saturday, April 15, she was not going to be outdone.

McNary senior Alyssa Looney went 17-02.75 to finish first in the high jump at the Willamette Falls Invitational on Saturday, April 15 in Oregon City. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

Looney went 17-02.75 to get within a quarter of an inch of the school record and win the Willamette Falls Invitational.

Ankle injuries kept Looney from jumping last season so it had been nearly two years since she went more than even 16 feet.

Her previous PR was 17-00.05 and her best this season was 15-07.5.

“It was a lot of motivation because my teammate (Giessinger) started jumping,” Looney said. “We’ve had friendly competition our entire lives and it really motivates both of us. She’s one of my really good friends. I think it helps. I just smiled and laughed. My only goal was to get 16 and when I jumped 17 I just couldn’t stop smiling.”

Giessinger, also a senior, is new to long jumping and has gotten better with each meet but her PR was 15-02.25, set on Wednesday, April 12 at West Albany.

“I don’t really know how I did it,” Giessinger said. “The coaches were telling me how to finish my jumps because I wasn’t doing that at first so that helped a lot. I was really shocked because my last jump at the last meet was 15 so to go to 17 was a lot. It was a big jump.”

Giessinger is also enjoying both competing against and learning from Looney, who started long jumping at the end of her freshman year.

“We used to go back and forth in gymnastics together, first and second, so us doing it together brought back the good old days.”

McNary head track and field coach Franklin Gauntz noted the program hasn’t had two girls go over 17 feet in the long jump in his tenure.

“Two girls going over 17 feet in the long jump is awesome,” he said.

“That’s really cool to have that deep of a group. For Looney to win the long jump, that was a little bit unexpected, I’m not going to lie, but it was wonderful. I knew she was capable of doing that. Courtney coming out and doing that was a real surprise. We were trying to get her up in the air and it finally clicked. She was able to get in the air and pull off three really good jumps. She had a good series.”

Senior Alex Sharabarin had another PR in the pole vault, clearing 12 feet to place second at Oregon City. It didn’t come easy.

“He was on his third attempt at 11 and really mentally grinded down and got that 11 foot,” Gauntz said.  “I’m super excited for Alex. He’s put a lot of time in.”

Junior Lucas Garvey, in his first year on the track and field team, set a new PR of 5-08 in the high jump.

On the track, junior Casey Toavs and freshman Caitlyn Kiefiuk Yates also had personal records of 17.47 and 17.42 in the 110 and 100 meter hurdles.

Brendan Van Voorhis finished third in the 100 in 11.19.

Next up, the Celts will compete in the Wilsonville Invitational on Saturday, April 22.