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Injured jumper takes leap of faith

Eric Gunderson hasn't let an injured left foot lower his expectations. The Wilson senior is hoping to clear 7 feet in the high jump this season, which would put him in position to win the state title.

'I think I can clear that, if I can stay healthy,' says Gunderson, who jumped 6-4 at the Sandy Invitational two weeks ago. 'I want to move up an inch a week through the season. The big problem will be how much stress my foot can take.'

Gunderson is part of a legacy of high-jump excellence. His sister Lisa won the state title in the event and now competes for Portland State. Sister Kristin won the city title as a senior last year.

'I've been doing the high jump since I was a little kid,' Eric Gunderson says. 'But I only got good at it in the last couple years.'

He missed most of last season after breaking a bone in his foot while long jumping, an event in which he went 21 feet. He says his foot still bothers him and has forced him to do much of his training in a pool.

'I can compete until my foot starts hurting, and then I stop,' he says. 'Usually that means I have to skip a lot of the lower heights.'

Wilson will be in two invitational meets next week, at Canby on Tuesday and at home on Friday.

TENNIS: Wilson's Momei Qu won a pair of matches at the Easter Bowl last weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., recording the best results of any Oregon player in the U.S. Tennis Association junior event. She reached the round of 32 before losing in the 128-player draw of the 16-and-under singles.

Lincoln's Joel Kinkaid also scored a first-round win. Grant's Tommy Hicks participated in the 16-and-under bracket as well.

The Tualatin Hills Tennis Center plans to upgrade its stadium court, where the Class 4A state finals are played, to seat as many as 600 people by the end of summer, according to tennis supervisor Brian Leahy.

The center is playing host to the USTA Junior Sectional championships in June and is scheduled to break ground on the construction project then. A second phase of construction would increase seating to as much as 5,000, which would put the facility in position to host Davis Cup or Federation Cup matches.

SOFTBALL: Central Catholic has been the pride of the Mount Hood Conference in the state playoffs for the last several years, but that appears to be changing. The Rams lost two of their first three conference games before beating David Douglas 1-0 Wednesday and were in the middle of the district standings at 2-2.

'The conference is a lot tougher this season,' Ram coach Cristina Acosta says. 'I think that's surprised the girls a little.'

The Rams were the only MHC team to win a playoff game last season, and they reached the Class 4A semifinals. But Barlow, Centennial and Gresham are battling for the conference lead this season.

Central has just three seniors: pitcher Brittany Reeves, shortstop Jessica Joachims and Jennifer Dowless. The Rams also feature junior pitcher Chelsea Corrado, who held David Douglas to three hits.

The Rams lost 5-4 to Barlow and 6-1 to Gresham.

'The other coaches in the conference are doing a great job of getting their teams prepared,' Acosta says. 'And girls in general seem to be putting more emphasis on offseason training, so the level of play is going up all around.'

GOLF: Cleveland continues its solid play. Junior Mark Howe shot a 4-under 32 at Heron Lakes on Wednesday and helped his team score 148 for four players.

Centennial and David Douglas are dueling for the Mount Hood Conference lead. The Eagles feature senior Mitch Berg, who was sixth in the state last season, while the Scots have junior Vincent Johnson, who took second in the state two years ago.

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .