Track: The Tigard boys, after winning state title last year, are still loaded
TIGARD - The Tigard High School boys track and field team is coming off an amazing 2010 season.
It was just a year ago when the Tigers won the Class 6A state team championship in thrilling fashion.
Many of the contributors to that championship season have since graduated.
But don't feel sorry for the Tigard boys. Oh no.
The cupboard is far from bare.
'We'll be OK again this year,' Tigard coach Erik Smith said. 'We've got some good people back. We should be one of the top teams in district again this year. It could be us, Newberg and Glencoe. There's going to be more competition for sure.'
The Tigard boys, looking to defend their Pacific Conference crown, look to be strong in most every element.
That includes the throwing events - especially the javelin.
Seniors Scott Brennan and Shane Fekete, who placed first and second in the javelin at last year's district meet, return in the event.
'They should have another good year,' Smith said.
Junior Jeremy Moore looks to be Tigard's top competitor in the shot put and discus.
'He should be one of the best in the district,' Smith said.
Junior Jarrad Schulte and sophomore Blake Chamberlain give Tigard more strength in the throwing events.
Fekete also could be a key factor for the Tigers in the 400-meter dash and in the relays. He's the only returnee from Tigard's state-title-winning 4 x 400 relay team.
The Tigers have two returnees, seniors Joseph Hart and Beau Hansen, from its 4 x 100 relay team that placed fourth at state last year.
'We could be in the 4 x 100 again this year,' Smith said.
Hart, who is training for the decathlon, could be a big scorer for Tigard in the sprints as well as in the long and triple jump. He's already had a long jump of 23 feet, 4¾ inches indoors this year and he's already triple jumped over 44 feet.
Tigard also looks to be strong in the distance running events. Senior Nick Roche, who won the league cross country title in the fall, could run anywhere from the 800 to the 3,000 for the Tigers.
'He's hoping to break the school record and get 8:30 or lower in the 3,000,' Smith said.
Seniors Mark Medgin and Aaron Kirch and junior Alex White and freshman Ben White give Tigard plenty of strength and depth in the distance events.
'We're so deep there,' Smith said.
Junior Sean McGetrick looks to be Tigard's top hurdler. He was third at district in the 110 high hurdles and fourth in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
'He's put in a lot of work and has gotten stronger,' Smith said. 'We're expecting a lot out of him this year.'
Senior Matt Khoo joins Hart in the jumps and senior Gavin Cronkrite looks to be Tigard's top pole vaulter.
The Tigard girls also lost some key competitors to graduation, but they also have some standouts back as well as some promising younger athletes.
'We've had some freshmen come out and do well,' Smith said.
One of the top returnees for the Tigard girls is senior Kelsi Schaer, who ran to sixth place at the state meet in the 800 last year. Schaer will likely run the 1,500 and the 3,000 this year.
Senior Stephanie Arnold will also run in the distance events for the Tigard girls.
Senior Katie Humphrey, running in the 200 and 400, could be Tigard's top sprinter. She's also the defending district champion in the 300 intermediate hurdles. Freshman Michelle Simmons will also run the 400 and freshman Katherine Soldwedel will run the 200.
Senior Diana Merchant, who qualified for state in the 100 high hurdles and 300 low hurdles last year, also returns. Sophomore Katie Harbolt will also be running in the hurdles events.
Tigard could be strong in the 4 x 100 relay with Humphrey, Schaer, Merchant and Soldwedel.
In the shot put and discus, Tigard will have senior Kaleen Coker and junior Kassie Coker. Junior Haley Demmin will be throwing the javelin.
Tigard is rebuilding in the jumps with junior Mikayla Mason and senior Veronica Hughes.