Central Oregon prep track and field preview

By Mark Morical The Bulletin
Published Mar 19, 2014 at 11:16PM / Updated Mar 20, 2014 at 01:50PM

Prep track and field, at a glance

A look at the Central Oregon teams competing in track and field this spring:

CLASS 5A

Bend

Head coach: Kyle Will (second season)

2013 boys: 10th at state meet

2013 girls: 21st at state meet

Boys outlook: Lots of talent returning, including sophomore Caleb Hoffmann, who finished fifth in the 800 meters last year at state, and senior Joel Johnson, a returning state qualifier in the pole vault.

Girls outlook: Young but talented group that includes senior sprinter Macey Burgess and junior Alexa Evert, a two-time state qualifier in the hurdles.

Mountain View

Head coach: Andy Young (second season)

2013 boys: Tied for sixth at state meet

2013 girls: Tied for 13th at state meet

Boys outlook: Junior Dantly Wilcox placed fifth at state last year in the 110-meter hurdles and senior Blake Knirk qualified for state in the discus.

Girls outlook: Junior 400-meter runner Briana Bolster is the Cougars’ lone returning state competitor. Kristen Place, also a junior, will contribute to the team in numerous events.

Redmond

Head coach: Tim Conley (first season)

2013 boys: Eighth at state meet

2013 girls: 10th at the state meet

Boys outlook: A young team with a “high level of dedication and work ethic,” according to Conley. Senior Kyle Tinnell placed seventh in the 100 at state, and he also qualified for state in the long and triple jumps. Sophomore Jacoby McNamara was part of the state 4x100 team. Senior John Hickey will race in the 300 hurdles, and sophomore Alani Troutman will compete in the high jump.

Girls outlook: Senior Kiersten Ochsner was third at state in the 100 and fifth in the 200, and she was part of the third-place 4x100 team. Junior MaKenna Conley was part of the third-place 4x100 team at state.

Summit

Head coach: Dave Turnbull (13th season)

2013 boys: State champions

2013 girls: State champions

Boys outlook: Led by junior distance runner Matthew Maton and senior high jumper Michael Menefee, the Storm are favorites to win their fourth consecutive boys state team title.

Girls outlook: A trio of multi-event athletes (junior Miranda Brown and sophomores Claire Christensen and Hannah Cochran) add depth to the Storm and help make them the clear favorites to win their eighth straight girls state team championship.

CLASS 4A

Crook County

Head coach: Ernie Brooks (11th season)

2013 boys: Tied for 23rd at state meet

2013 girls: 13th at state meet

Boys outlook: The young team includes some standout seniors. Senior Grayson Munn finished sixth in the 1,500 meters and 10th in the 3,000 at the state meet last season. Luis Rivera, another senior, was 12th in the 800 at the state meet last year.

Girls outlook: Senior Kathryn Kaonis placed seventh in the shot put at last year’s state meet, and junior Danielle Michael tied for eighth in the pole vault at state. The Cowgirls return three members of the 4x100 relay team that finished fifth at state.

La Pine

Head coach: Brian Earls (girls, seventh season); Gary Slater (boys, second season)

2013 boys: Fourth at state meet

2013 girls: 36th at state meet

Boys outlook: The Hawks lost a strong core of athletes to graduation but return sophomore Justin Petz in the pole vault and jumps, junior sprinter Keegan Kriz, and senior distance runners Niico Haddad and Austin Smith.

Girls outlook: Earls said the girls will be “more competitive than they have been in years.” Top returners include Chloe Sazama in the pole vault, McKenna Boen in the 100 hurdles, Brittany Hagler in the triple jump, and Holly Glenn in the 300 hurdles.

Madras

Head coaches: Jon Bowerman and Melissa Bowerman (first season)

2013 boys: 33rd at state meet

2013 girls: Did not score at state meet

Boys outlook: Coaches declined to comment

Girls outlook: Coaches declined to comment

Sisters

Head coach: Josh Nordell (second season)

2013 boys: Tied for 19th at state meet

2013 girls: 12th at state meet

Boys outlook: The return of seniors Jake McAllister (long jump, high jump, hurdles) and Brandon Pollard (1,500 and 800 meters) will help the Outlaws compete for the Sky-Em League championship. McAllister was the Sky-Em field athlete of the year in 2013, and Pollard finished third in the 1,500 at state.

Girls outlook: Senior Zoe Falk finished second in the 800 at state last season. Junior Aria Blumm will compete in the 1,500 and 800, sophomore Macadia Calavan in the 400, and sophomore Michaela Miller in the 300 hurdles and long jump.

Ridgeview

Head coach: Rachel Hinze (second season)

2013 boys: Tied for 29th at state meet

2013 girls: Eighth at state meet

Boys outlook: Several returning state hopefuls include senior Cody Simpson, who last year at state was fourth in the javelin, sixth in the triple jump and seventh in the pole vault. Senior Caleb Ronhaar was fourth at state in the high jump.

Girls outlook: Sophomore Hosanna Wilder is the defending state champion in the high jump, and senior Dakota Steen will race in the 300 hurdles and the 4x400 relay.

CLASS 2A

Culver

Head coach: Mike Dove (seventh season)

2013 boys: 14th at state meet

2013 girls: Fourth at state meet

Boys outlook: The team is “growing and developing,” according to Dove, and includes sophomore Corey Sledge, who was fifth in state in the pole vault last year. Travis Klopp is another pole-vaulter, and Arturo Vazquez will race in the 100 and 200.

Girls outlook: The squad “will be very strong again this year,” according to Dove. Top returning athletes include sprinters Ana Badillo and Hannah Lewis, and middle-distance runners Andrea Retano and Angelica Metteer.

CLASS 1A

Gilchrist

Head coach: James Anding (seventh season)

2013 boys: Fifth in Special District 2 Championships

2013 girls: Second in Special District 2 Championships

Boys outlook: Young team led by junior Johnny Heitzmand in the 1,500 and 3,000, senior Jake Ferrell in the shot put and senior Mike McGregor in the 400.

Girls outlook: Junior Sierra Shuey leads the six-girl team in the 200 meters and the long jump. Senior Sydney Longbotham will race in the 100 hurdles and relays.

Dave Turnbull has guided the Summit track and field program to 11 state team titles since the west Bend high school opened its doors in 2001.

But the longtime coach seems downright giddy about this coming season, as the Storm boys and girls strive for their fourth consecutive sweep of the Class 5A team state championships.

“We’re probably as excited as we’ve ever been,” Turnbull said last week. “It’s hard to overstate what we’ve done in the past, but honestly this is probably the best first week we’ve ever had. We’re seeing better improvement from the kids and it feels like we’ve already finished a month of training — they’re looking THAT good right now.”

The Summit girls, led by a group that has been training as heptathletes, appear headed for their eighth straight state team title. With added depth in more events, the Summit girls squad is “by far the best girls team we’ve ever assembled,” Turnbull said.

Based on the program’s history, the coach’s assessment speaks volumes.

“This girls team is already marked for breaking the state record on most points ever scored (at a state championship meet),” Turnbull added.

Junior Miranda Brown is a heptathlete-in-training who will compete this season in hurdles, triple jump, long jump, relays, and possibly javelin. Brown finished second in the triple jump at the state meet last season.

Other Summit girls who have been training as heptathletes include sophomores Claire Christensen and Hannah Cochran. (The seven-event heptathlon consists of the 100-meter dash, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin and 800.)

Sophomore Hannah Gindlesperger won the state title in cross-country this past fall and was a track state champion in the 3,000 meters last spring.

Junior Megan Buzzas returns as a top sprinter for the Storm, and Kaely Gordon, also a junior, is a standout in the middle distances.

A talented crop of freshmen, Turnbull noted, only adds further to the astonishing depth of the Summit girls squad.

While the girls team is relatively young, the Summit boys are led by a core of seniors and juniors. Junior Matthew Maton is the defending state champion in both the 1,500 and 3,000 meters on the track and also claimed the cross-country state title last fall. He won the 5,000-meter cross-country race in a staggering 14 minutes, 59 seconds — just four seconds off the state record.

Turnbull said Maton is being recruited by a number of NCAA Division I schools across the country.

“He is a hard, hard worker,” Turnbull said. “We want to challenge him, but we’ll be working speed, speed, speed with him. Keep him healthy, keep him fast, and good things will happen with Matthew. But it’s not just Matthew — I think we’ll get a lot of boys to the state meet.”

Senior Michael Menefee is the returning state champion in the high jump. Other Summit seniors to watch include Calvin Aylward in the javelin and Marc Hasenoehrl in the 400.

“We’ve got more boys that have potential,” Turnbull said. “It’s a matter of coaches getting the most out of their athletes. If we do, we may get a couple trophies again.”

So, just how does Summit continue its unprecedented success year after year? Turnbull described a combination of ingredients:

• Many athletes train year-round to stay strong. Even distance runners hit the weight room and focus on speed work on the track, while logging the mileage to build endurance on their own.

• Summit boasts 18 coaches on its staff, making for about eight or nine athletes per coach for more individualized attention.

• The Storm make practices fun, warming up as a group with Zumba (a popular dance-fitness program) at the start of each practice.

• Turnbull and other coaches encourage athletes involved in fall and winter sports to turn out for track and field in the spring.

The result is a huge, healthy program that gets better nearly every season.

“They’ve now created an energy, enthusiasm, and expectation amongst themselves that they have to top the previous year,” Turnbull said.

While the Storm have a pile of state trophies, they do not have the market cornered on track talent in Central Oregon.

At Bend High, coach Kyle Will said he is “very excited” about his team this season. The Lava Bears lost a few talented athletes to graduation, but many return.

Senior Joel Johnson is a returning state qualifier in the pole vault who also plans to compete in the javelin. Senior Camden Stoddard is another returning pole vaulter who qualified for state; he will also compete in the high jump. Sprinter Braden Bell, yet another senior, will lead the Bears in the 100, 200 and 4x100.

Sophomore Caleb Hoffmann finished fifth in the 800 last year at state, and he hopes to add the 1,500 this season, according to Will.

For the Bend girls, Macey Burgess is the top returning sprinter, a senior who will take part in the 100, 200, and both relays.

Sophomore Sophia Cunningham has shown promise in the 400, said Will, and junior Alexa Evert is a two-time state qualifier in the 100 hurdles.

The Mountain View boys this season are looking to build on the strength of their middle-distance runners, hurdlers, jumpers and throwers, according to coach Andy Young.

Junior Dantly Wilcox placed fifth at state last year in the 110-meter hurdles, and senior Blake Knirk qualified for state in the discus. Junior Gabe Wyllie and senior Sam King will lead a strong contingent of 400- and 800-meter runners for the Cougars, and they are hoping to return with a state-qualifying 4x400 team.

The Mountain View girls team is led by distance runners, sprinters and jumpers and includes a talented freshman class with much potential, according to Young.

Junior 400-meter runner Briana Bolster is the Cougars’ lone returning state competitor. Kristen Place, also a junior, is a heptathlete in the making and will contribute to the team in numerous events, Young noted. Senior Jill Roshak narrowly missed qualifying for state last year in the high jump.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. In the original story, Caleb Hoffmann’s place in the state finals was incorrect. The Bulletin regrets the error.

—Reporter: 541-383-0318 or mmorical@bendbulletin.com

Ryan Brennecke / The Bulletin Heptathlete-in-training Miranda Brown and long-distance runner Matthew Maton hope to lead Summit to more Class 5A state titles this season.