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Track squad loaded with young talent

Team loses handful of seniors, but return a solid nucleus that should contend for district title

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Grayson Munn is expected to lead a young Crook County distance core next season. The sophomore qualified for state this past year in both the 1,500- and 3,000-meter races.

This year’s Crook County High School track and field squad didn’t have any superstars.
   Still, the team was good enough to place second at the Greater Oregon League Championships in both the boys and girls divisions. The Cowboys went on to place 15th at state, while the Cowgirls could only muster one point at the state championships.
   “It went good,” said head coach Ernie Brooks. “They were a young team, but I think the girls are going to be deadly next year.”
   The girls squad will lose distance runner Kelley Thurman, thrower Marci Johnston, and sprinter Makinsi Gregory to graduation. However, the rest of the squad is still intact.
   The Cowboys will lose more talent, but should still be solid next season. Possibly the biggest hit to the boys team is the loss of sprinters Hunter Bourland, Alex Greaves, Tyler Hulick, and Tyler Rockwood. The team will also lose Tevin Cooper, who placed fifth at the state meet in the javelin.
   “The guys lose some talent in the sprints,” Brooks said. “But we still have some young talent and we are not too far from going from rebuilding to reloading.”
   Throwers Chance Sutfin and Molly Viles, who both competed at this year’s state championships, should lead a solid throwing core on next year’s team. In addition, the team returns a solid nucleus from last year’s cross country team that won the district championships.
   Grayson Munn, who qualified for state in both the 1,500 and 3,000, is expected to lead an improving distance core.
   “A lot of the kids say they are going to go out for cross country to stay in shape,” Brooks said. “That will help cross country and can only help to make us better.
   In order to develop that talent, Brooks is encouraging athletes to go out for more than one sport and is working to get people into the weight room.
   “We are looking to develop three-sport athletes,” he said. “We want them working in the weight room and getting stronger.”
   Brooks noted that the team had a larger-than-normal group of freshmen this season. He expects to have another solid group of freshmen come out next year. Coupled with a solid core of returning upperclassmen, Brooks believes that will give the team a lot of depth.
   “We’ll miss these seniors,” he said. “It will be a changing of the guard, but the future looks bright. I think we will be competitive and make some noise at district and maybe challenge for a state trophy. The next couple of years are going to be fun.”