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Hawks set to rely on talent, depth

The Horizon Christian track teams look to make another big run
by: DAN BROOD DEFENDING CHAMP — Horizon Christian senior Tony Dubenko, shown here running in last year’s West Valley League district meet, is the defending Class 3A state champion in the 110 high hurdles.

TUALATIN - The Horizon Christian High School boys track and field team is coming off a banner 2010 season that saw the Hawks capture the Class 3A state championship.

Some of the top competitors from that Horizon Christian squad have graduated, but the Hawks' cupboard is far from bare this year.

'We still have lots of depth and a strong core of young athletes to compliment the returnees from our state championship team,' Horizon Christian coach Scott Olson said. 'We look to be very strong on the track as well as one of the best jumping teams in the state. A strong contingent of young throwers provides a much needed addition.'

Among the top returnees for the Horizon Christian boys is senior Tony Dubenko. Last year, Dubenko won the Class 3A state championship in the 110-meter high hurdles while also placing fourth in the 300 intermediate hurdles at state.

'He will also be a major part of our relays and jump team,' Olson said.

Senior Connor Hart is another top returnee for the Hawks. Last year, he was fifth at state in the 110 high hurdles.

'He will join Dubenko as a great one-two punch in the hurdles,' Olson said. 'He also is our best returning javelin thrower.'

Junior Ben Smith may be the team's top returnee in the jumps. Last year, he was fifth in the long jump at the West Valley League district meet. He also has the best returning long jump in the state at the Class 3A level.

'He will look to build on the success of his stellar sophomore season by leading another strong jump team this year,' Olson said. 'He's also one of our top sprinters and will make a major impact in the relays.'

Senior James McMonagle could be one of the top 400 runners in the state.

'He'll be leading our sprints and relays,' Olson said.

Sophomore Calvin Anderson could be a major contributor for the Hawks in the relays and jumps. Tyler Forrester, coming off a strong summer, is one of the team's top returning sprinters.

In the throws, senior Andy Karlinger is looking to come back from a shoulder injury that hampered him throughout his junior year. As a sophomore, Karlinger won the West Valley League district championship and he went on to place eighth at state in the shot put.

Senior Daniel Esborg and freshman Grant Phillips should have an impact in the throws for the Hawks.

Senior Matthew Peters leads the distance running crew, which also includes freshman Blake Phillips, freshman Jaspar Perkins and Cody Burglehaus.

Senior transfer Fernando Barrett should be a strong addition to the team on the track and in the field events.

The Horizon Christian boys, who also won the West Valley League district team title last year, will be tested by Dayton and Westside Christian as they look to repeat as league champs this year.

The Horizon Christian girls are also looking forward to a successful season.

'This could be our strongest team yet,' Olson said. 'More depth will provide us with a chance to be a more complete team. A good influx of youth onto the team also gives us depth.'

Among the top returnees for the Horizon Christian girls is junior Hannah Gill, who placed second in the discus at the WVL district meet last year with a mark of 106 feet, 8 inches. She went on to place ninth in the state meet in the event.

'She will also be one of our best in the long jump and javelin,' Olson said.

Senior Danielle Esquerra, who was fifth at district in the javelin last year, is another top returnee for the Hawks.

'She's an excellent javelin thrower who will take aim at a high league finish,' Olson said. 'She's also our most veteran sprinter and jumper and will enter her third year on the varsity 4 x 100 relay team.'

Sophomore Kate Schifferdecker should help out the team on the track.

'After a great off season of training, she looks primed to be a top jumper,' Olson said. 'She will also be a key member of our 4 x 400 relay team.'

Sophomore Mary Auxier will run the 400 and also compete in the discus and the 4 x 400 relay.

Senior Jaime Weber and junior Rachel Cotner should be strong in the sprints and the relays. Sophomore Sasha Iliyn, a first-year track athlete, will run in the relays and compete in the shot put.

Sophomore Brenda Crawford could be a contender in the league in the 300 low hurdles.

The Horizon Christian girls will be looking to battle with league favorites Westside Christian, Dayton and Amity this year.

*****

The Horizon Christian teams had some strong performances at their season-opening meet with Class 6A Tualatin and West Linn, held March 16 at Tualatin High School.

For the Horizon Christian boys, Smith won the 100 in a time of 12.28 seconds and he had a winning distance of 37-7 in the triple jump.

Hart triumphed in the javelin with a mark of 147-11 and McMonagle sprinted to victory in the 200 in 24.95.

For the Horizon Christian girls, Auxier was second in the 400 in 1:10.78.