Track: The Sherwood girls hope to defend their NWOC district championship
by: DAN BROOD LEADING THE WAY — Sherwood’s Jessica Imbrie (right) and Kylie Thalhofer are in first and second place in the 1,500 at last year’s NWOC district meet.

SHERWOOD - Last year, the Sherwood High School girls track and field team won the Northwest Oregon Conference district meet championship.

This year, the Lady Bowmen are hoping to run away with the title again - literally.

Led by a strong group of runners, the Sherwood girls are taking high hopes into the 2011 season.

'I feel like our girls have another chance to win district,' Sherwood coach Terrel Smith said.

Leading the way for the Lady Bowmen in that quest will be a deep, talented group of distance runners.

'This is probably the best distance crew we've had in a long, long time,' Smith said.

That group includes sophomore Jessica Imbrie, who is the defending Class 5A state champion in the 1,500-meter run, having triumphed in that race at the 2010 state meet in a time of 4 minutes, 45.65 seconds.

It's not sure yet what events Imbrie will be running this year.

'Her talent in anything from the 400 on up is solid,' Smith said. 'And she's showing good form early.'

Other members of Sherwood's talented distance crew include senior Keikoanne Hollins and juniors Kylie Thalhofer and Victoria Kalina.

One of the highlights from last year's season for the Lady Bowmen was when Imbrie, Thalhofer and Hollins finished first, second and third in the 1,500 at the NWOC district championships. Smith says that feeling has carried over to this year.

'The team concept is there and their dream is there,' Smith said. 'We can build the program around that crew.'

In the sprints, Sherwood is bolstered by the addition of junior Leanne Snyder, who is in her first year with the Lady Bowmen track team.

'We also have some young sprinters who will be developing,' Smith said.

In the throws, Sherwood will be led by sophomore Emily Hamilton, who will compete in the javelin and discus events.

'She's our kingpin in the throws,' Smith said.

Last year, Hamilton placed seventh at the Class 5A state meet in the discus.

Also in the throws, Sherwood will have senior Megan Shields in the shot put, freshman Elyse Cuthbertson in the shot put and javelin and freshman Tess Newberry in the discus and javelin.

Senior McKenzie Griffin will be leading the way for Sherwood in the jumps. Senior Hannah Chamberlain will provide leadership in the hurdles events.

As for the race for the NWOC girls title, Smith sees Wilsonville and Sandy as possibly Sherwood's top challengers.

The Sherwood boys, Smith says, are hoping to finish in the upper-middle part of the NWOC. The Bowmen boys, like the girls, boast some talented competitors.

Senior Michael Smith will be counted on to get points for the team. He could end up competing in a lot of different events, with his best looking to be the javelin and the pole vault. He was fifth in the pole vault and sixth in the javelin at last year's NWOC district meet.

Sherwood also has a top high jumper in senior Griffin Ruehl, who has already cleared 6 feet this season. Sophomore Zachary Milligan and sophomore Steven Pavao look to be other top high jumpers for the Bowmen.

Senior Dallas Estep will lead the way for Sherwood in the triple jump.

Sophomore Cristian Morris will be the Bowmen's top sprinter. He placed third at district last year in both the 100 and 200.

'He's a talent,' Smith said. 'He'll run the 100, 200 and short relay.'

Senior Zachary Estep looks to be Sherwood's top runner in the 400.

In the distance races, Sherwood will be led by senior Jagger Heckman, junior Peter Alley and junior Perrin Hess.

'They give us good, solid expectations in the distances,' Smith said. 'They're versatile. They can run anything from the 800 to the 3, 000.

As for the race for the boys league title, Smith sees a spirited battle.

'It will be competitive,' he said. 'I'd have to say Wilsonville or Sandy are the favorites, due to the quality of their programs.'

The Sherwood teams will be back in action today (Thursday) when they run at Milwaukie in a league meet set to start at 4 p.m. at Milwaukie High School.

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