by: VERN UYETAKE Sophomore Madison Leek returns to the Lions as the defending district champion and school record holder in the 100 and 200 meters.

West Linn's track teams are young but filled with plenty of potential this spring.

The numbers are up on both the boys and girls teams but a large percentage of those athletes are freshmen and sophomores who hope to develop throughout the season and make the Lions a formidable squad by districts.

The West Linn girls team should be very strong again in nearly every event.

The Lions return the defending district champion and school record holder in the 100 and 200 meters, Madison Leek.

"When you think about how old the school of West Linn is, for her to come in as a freshman and be the fastest girl who's ever walked those halls is pretty incredible," coach Joe Cerny said.

Leek heads up a talented group of sprinters that also includes sophomore Cara Boucher and one of the team's senior leaders, Casey Livesay.

Livesay will also be the team's top hurdler again this season.

Freshman Baylee Magnuson is also expected to make an impact in the sprints and hurdles this season.

West Linn is equally strong in the distance events with many of the team's cross country runners out for the team.

Chelsea Ollar, Erin Morrow, Julia Boyd-Helm, Leah Henningsen and Elliot Prince will give the team a strong contingent in the 800, 1500 and 3000.

In the field, Krystine Halicki will anchor the Lions in the discus and the shot put.

West Linn is very strong in the jumping events as well with both Maria Green and Ellie Clow each clearing 5'0 in the high jump already this season.

Green will also participate on relays for West Linn while Corinne Carver will be strong in the long and triple jump.

Competition in the league will be even stronger for West Linn this season.

Traditional powers like Lakeridge and Clackamas are solid again this year and the additions of Canby and Grant will make for competitive meets as well.

"If you make it to state out of our league this year you're going to have a really good chance to finish pretty high at state and that's a good thing," Cerny said.

For the boys, there are more question marks in the line-up. A pair of the team's top sprinters opted to focus on other sports this spring making way for a large contingent of freshmen and sophomores to fill that void.

"It's going to be interesting to see who develops and who emerges," Cerny said.

Mario Mastrandrea will be one of the team's top competitors in the 100 and 200 as well as in the jumping events.

As has been the case recently, much of the Lions' strength will come from its distance crew.

Cullen Wannarka, Jefferson Chandler, Zach Boyd-Helm and Graham Frank will give the Lions depth in the 800, 1500 and 3000.

The Lions are also expected to be strong in the field.

Brandon Brooksby and Cam Keizur will score points for the Lions in the shot put and the discus.

Justin McKee is also back in the javelin after making it to state last year in his first season of competing in the event.

"He's a guy who ran distance and sprints for us. He switched to javelin last year and found a niche," Cerny said.

And, along with Mastrandrea, Ammon Markstaller will also be a strong competitor in the jumping events for the Lions this year.

West Linn had its first league meet on Wednesday against Clackamas.

"Every meet is a tough one this year. The goal, as always, is just to get as many kids to state as we possibly can," Cerny said.

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