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Skipper, Rondema, Soumokil excel

OREGON CITY - A trio of Oregon City athletes turned in tremendous early season performances at the four-team Oregon City Ice Breaker Invitational Track and Field Meet, hosted by the Pioneers on March 17.

Oregon City senior Greg Skipper broke his own school record with a heave of 55-5 in the shot put. It was nearly a foot better than Skipper's mark at last year's Class 6A state meet, which earned him second place behind Gresham standout Sam Crouser.

Skipper also won the discus, launching the implement a near personal record of 153-5, despite competing during a cloudburst.

Skipper's effort in the discus is a state's best for the 2011 outdoor season. His mark in the shot put is second only to Barlow senior Ryan Crouser's nation-leading mark of 69-10.

Barlow and Ryan Crouser were at last week's meet, but Crouser decided not to throw.

'Greg had hoped for a chance to throw against his good friend Ryan Crouser, but during warm-ups Ryan decided to scratch out, due to a minor training injury,' said Oregon City coach Adam Thygeson. 'Obviously that took away a little of the adrenaline that Greg had going, but he still threw a lifetime PR and pushed his school record out another 5-1/2 inches.'

Another Oregon City thrower, junior Andy Rondema, was equally as impressive as Skipper in last week's season opener.

Rondema blew away the javelin field with a throw of 182-9, a lifetime best heave by seven feet.

'That mark ties Andy with Kasey Ahsing for the junior class record,' said Thygeson. 'It's the No. 4 all-time throw in school history.'

Rondema's throw is the second-best throw in the state this season.

The Pioneers also got a big meet from senior Garrett Soumokil, who won the triple jump with a near PR of 43-6 and placed second in the long jump with a leap of 21-3.

Soumokil's effort in the triple jump is a state's best for all classifications.

'We're looking to Garrett for big points this year in those jumps, and he's primed for a breakout year,' said Thygeson.

Oregon City junior Nathan Meeker starred for the Pioneers in the distances, winning the 1,500 in 4:21.10 and the finishing runner-up to Barlow junior Jacob Campbell in the 3,000 with an effort of 9:35.87.

'Nathan had a tremendous day,' said Thygeson. 'He ran lifetime PRs in both the 1,500 and 3,000, lowering his personal best in the 1,500 by over nine seconds and by almost five seconds in the 3,000.'

Oregon City junior Jarom Youngblood turned a few heads in the 800 meters, heading the field with an effort of 2:01.90. The time ranks him fifth in the state in Class 6A in the event.

'We hadn't planned on running Jarom in this event until he dominated our interval workouts on Monday, blazing through a group of 600-meter runs,' said Thygeson. 'Coach Brandon Lee recommended trying to get him into an 800-meter race. I asked Jarom if he wanted to try it at the spring break all-comers meet at Canby, and he said, 'Why not this week?'….

'Wow, what a successful first race! I'm not sure if Jarom knows this yet, but now he's going to have to start doing a distance workout once in a while, mixed in with high jump, long jump and triple jump sessions.'

Oregon City boys had two other athletes earn runner-up honors, senior Morgan Heinsoo in the high hurdles (17.25) and sophomore Justin Cornejo in the 200 (23.62).

The non-scored meet included athletes from Barlow, Summit and Portland Christian high schools.

Oregon City girls had two champions in last week's meet.

Pioneer senior Kylee Cook was a double winner, setting the pace in the 400 meters (1:02.61) and leading a Pioneer sweep of the first three places in the long jump with an effort of 15-8.

Oregon City senior Tiffany Forbito headed the field in the girls javelin, launching the spear 120-8.

Oregon City girls had four athletes earn runner-up honors, senior Lindsay Goff in the 200 (28.16), junior Marissa Gehring in the pole vault (8-6), junior Emily Shannon in the triple jump (32-9), and sophomore Catelyn Preston in the discus (87-8).

Oregon City begins Three Rivers League competition on Wednesday, March 30, hosting Canby in a dual meet. The Pioneers vie in the East County Invitational at Mt. Hood Community College on Friday, April 1.