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Junior Aloha hurdler wins Metro titles in both hurdles events, takes second in high jump

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha junior James Wilcoxen won the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles at the Metro League district meet last week.

From the moment James Wilcoxen glided over a single low hurdle, it was clear to close friend and training partner Shawntral Turner there was something different about her buddy's athletic blessings.

Angular and agile at 6-foot-5 with long legs that ate up turf at will, Wilcoxen looked like an NFL wide receiver sprinting around the Aloha track, making a tricky sport seem mundane. Wilcoxen was a natural and at Turner's urging needed to sign up for track and field. Let your gifts shine, Turner said.

The hurdle rookie has been all that and then some ever since. Leaping and spanning barricades with grace and fluidity, Wilcoxen won both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdle Metro League championships in addition to taking second in the high jump at the district meet on May 16 at Aloha High School.

"Honestly I wasn't expecting to do this well, it just came out of nowhere," Wilcoxen said with a smile. "I'm really grateful for my friends, family and all of the people who supported me all the way through this. Without them, I wouldn't be here for sure. For this to happen to me is a really cool experience."

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton junior Nathan Reed won the triple jump and took second in the long jump at the Metro League district meet last week.

Wilcoxen was one of many non-Jesuit athletes to take home first place ribbons at the Metro title meet. Sunset senior Ethan Reese successfully defended his championship in the 800 (1:52.87). Sunset junior Ika Nguamo won the shot put (50-07), Beaverton senior Ryan Turner took first in the discus (133-03) and Southridge senior Ross Davis took first in the high jump (6-04). Westview, who finished second overall, had three first places: senior Cielo Del Rosario won the javelin (192'), junior Wayne Jamison won the long jump (21-06) and senior Calvin Fulkerson finished first in the pole vault (12-09). Beaverton junior Nathan Reed won the triple jump (47-01) and took second in the long jump.

It's rare to seek out an athlete's bio on Athletic.net and only find a single season of times and marks. Most track and field entrants have resumes that start at least during their freshmen year and date back as far as the fifth grade. Not Wilcoxen. And it's not like the Warrior junior chose the 100 or 200 dash where speed takes precedence over everything. Hurdling requires precision, timing and tons of practice, normally. So does becoming a threat in the high jump. But Wilcoxen is the uncommon, extraordinary athlete who can come into an arena and dominate it. Wilcoxen played basketball on the junior varsity team but has found a true passion as a hurdler and jumper.

"I actually enjoy everything about track," Wilcoxen said. "I love the hard work and especially the people here at Aloha. They're all so friendly and support you in whatever you do. That pushes me to do better and do it for the school and my family."

Wilcoxen said he doesn't have a lot of expectations going into the Class 6A state championship meet, simply because he's never been before. But with a year of high school eligibility left and so much untapped potential left to fulfill, the Aloha star said he "definitely" wants to see how far he can take the sport including competing at the college level. Wilcoxen set a personal record in the 110s (15.33) beating teammate Gustavo Calderon and in the 300's (40.34). Wilcoxen was the second seed in the 300's and nervous about the grueling event, but again found a source of motivation from his inner circle.

"My friends said 'It's ok, you go this, just do you', so I did me," Wilcoxen said with a smile.

For much more on the Metro League district meet, please visit www.beavertonvalleytimes.com.

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha junior James Wilcoxen won the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles at the Metro League district meet last week.


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