A handful of members from the Kentwood High track team were among the select few who had the opportunity to compete at the Nike Track Nationals earlier this month. Those who competed (from left to right) included: Aiesha Goodlow, Alyx Toeaina, Megan McNally, Dana Wareham, Beth Parrish, Holly DeHart and Carly Horn.

Kentwood girls track team takes a trip of a lifetime to Nike Track Nationals

By ERICK WALKER Covington Reporter News

Aiesha Goodlow got redemption.

It has been a little more than a month since the recent Kentwood High graduate just missed qualifying for the Class 4A state track and field meet in the 100 hurdles. Goodlow, however, received a second chance of sorts during the Nike Track Nationals, which was held from July 1-4 at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

Goodlow and six of her Kentwood High teammates were lucky enough to be competing in the event, which was by invitation only. The top 12 boys and top 12 girls programs from around the country were invited to take part in the event. Kentwood, which finished sixth at the end of May, was the top-ranked girls team in the Northwest. Rankings are based on individual results in 10 events.

Goodlow made good on her second attempt at a big meet, establishing a new personal record in the 100 hurdles, blistering the Hayward Field track in 15.46 seconds.

“The field itself felt really fast. I am pretty sure that helped my time,” said Goodlow, who will compete at either Eastern Washington University or Spokane Community College next season. “The field is one of the best, and thinking about how the professionals run there ... we were running with the big dogs from other states, like California. It was pretty cool.”

So was the second chance, noted Goodlow.

“I was not feeling well that day, I had stomach aches,” Goodlow said about the district meet. I was really frustrated because I gave it my all, but my body refused to give it all it had.”

Goodlow’s legs, however, were in fine form for the first Nike Track Nationals.

“Had she run her PR at district, she would have been at state,” said Kentwood coach Steve Roche. “But I would take (setting a personal record) at Hayward Field over state just about any day of the week.”

Making the trip along with Goodlow were teammates Holly DeHart (100, long jump), Dana Wareham (400), Megan McNally (800), Alyx Toeaina (shot put, discus), Beth Parrish (pole vault) and Carly Horn (high jump).

Toeaina, a junior-to-be, was Kentwood’s top placer, taking third in the discus (124 feet) and shot put (38 feet).

DeHart added an eighth-place finish in the 100 (12.40) and a fourth-place finish in the long jump (17-feet, 8 inches). Wareham took 11th in the 400 (61.71), McNally added a 10th in the 800 (2:23.47), Horn chipped in a sixth in the high jump (5 feet) while Parrish rounded out the group with a seventh-place finish in the pole vault (8 feet).

The event, however, was about a lot more than the competition. Nike flew in each of the 24 teams (boys and girls) to the event. In addition, each team member received a slew of free items.

“It was so much fun,” said DeHart, who took first in the 200 and third in the 100 at state in May. “Everything was perfectly planned out. It was amazing. We got personalized Nike shoes that they will never make again ... there were only 300 made. (Nike) made everyone personalized uniforms, we got new Spandex, and jackets and spikes as well. For whatever event we were doing, they’d give us a free set of spikes.”

Kentwood entered the meet ranked 31st in the nation and took home a solid eighth-place finish.

“We were (ranked) 11th of the 12 teams coming in. We got in because we won the Northwest region,” Roche explained. “To take eighth place, I almost consider it an upset. We beat some teams that probably underperformed and we performed probably better than some thought we would.”

Covington Reporter News Erick Walker can be reached at ewalker@kentreporter.com or 425.432.1209, ext. 5052.