Girls track team opens with a big win

TRACK AND FIELD - Pioneers dominate distance races and throwing events to topple Wildcats
by: Jeff Spiegel Sandy sprinter Juanita Birdsong won two individual races and played a part in a pair of relay wins.

After losing three state scorers last season, Sandy track coach Anouxa Vixathep wasn't quite sure how his team would perform this year, but if their first meet was any indication, there is reason for hope.

The Pioneers pulled away from Wilsonville 85-59 Thursday night to open the Northwest Oregon Conference season with a win over one of the league's stalwart teams.

Tthe girls used the 400-meter relay to establish themselves early, as the Pioneers' ran a 53.68 behind a strong anchor leg from Juanita Birdsong. In the next event, it was senior Caitlyn Lewis who cruised to victory in the 1500 (5:08), holding off freshman teammate Dalen Richardson.

The Pioneers dominated the distance events, outscoring Wilsonville 22-5 in the three races with freshman Zoe Higgins winning the 800 (2:29.93).

In the field, the Pioneers got a strong performance from McKenzie Warren, who won both the shot put (38-feet-3/4-inch) and the discus (131-8) as Sandy's throwers gave up just one point in those three events. Brittany Price led a sweep in the javelin with a winning heave of 140-8.

Birdsong finished with four wins on the day, taking the 200 sprint (26.85) by .06 hundredths over Wilsonville's Allie Church. She also anchored each of Sandy's winning relays, which resulted in a 20-point swing in the team tally.

The Pioneers travel to Putnam on Wednesday, March 30, to take on a Kingsmen team that was last in the Three Rivers League in 2010.

• The Sandy boys beat Wilsonville 81.3-62.7. Look for coverage of the boys meet in the March 23, edition of The Post.