Random sports thoughts

DA is hot, according to Sports Illustrated
by: self-portrait, Sports Editor John Brewington

Derek Anderson is hot, at least according to Sports Illustrated. The Scappoose grad signed a contract for around $24 million last week with the Cleveland Browns and is a pretty good bet to be the starting quarterback next fall.

The magazine also poked a little fun at back-up Brady Quinn, basically saying he may be hot looking, but not in such a good position to be the Browns' starter.

I enjoyed my chat with Anderson last week. He's well aware of all the support he has in the area, and doesn't let the whining of a few strange fans in Cleveland bother him. Anderson is followed closely locally, and defended. If you'd like to weigh in on some of the dialogue, you can sign in on any recent football story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Be forewarned that some of their comments can be upsetting to more rational stomachs.

Most of the spring sports are beginning this week-weather permitting, of course. I'm sitting here on Monday afternoon, wondering if the St. Helens and Rainier softball game will be played without rain. It's still dry outside, but not looking so good. It was mostly blue skies just an hour or so ago.

That's the vagaries of outdoor sports in an Oregon spring. While we rarely get the kind of winter weather plaguing places like Cleveland this past week-umpteen inches of snow along with wind-it can be very damp in the spring.

The coast, Willamette Valley, and the northwest corner of the state seem to get more than their fair share of rain. Weather reports predict a wetter than normal spring. We had good weather the first part of the month, and really didn't get that much rain last week. The bit we're supposed to get Monday was supposed to clear on Tuesday and then be good until Friday.

The track season will go on rain or shine. St. Helens kicks off its season Wednesday at the Polar Bear Classic at Westview. Short trip, but the weather can be chilly-thus the name.

I look for the Lion girls to be overall better than the boys this year. They return a lot of athletes from last season, a lot of talent, and could be ready to challenge for the district title. The boys lost some of the best athletes in the state, and now it's time for the younger guys to step up, coach Gerry Tinkle says. He thinks he has enough talent for the team to show a lot of improvement over the course of the season. It's very unlikely a state title is in the offing for the boys team this time around, but they have a lot of kids out and a chance to show what they can do. The Lions will host the district meet in May, so they may have a little home field advantage by the time it rolls around.

Scappoose begins its track season on Thursday, hosting the Anderson Relays. Coach David Harley has a lot of horses out this year, over a 100 at last count, and split pretty evenly between boys and girls. Riley Cronin will lead the distance runners for the boys, while Kevin Carpenter will lead in the splits. Jenny Elder is one of the state's premier distance runners and she's back now and healthy. Stacy Marshall will anchor some of the jumps for Scappoose, including the pole vault where she is among the 4A elite.

Harley knows that the Astoria girls have a good shot at winning the state title, but that Scappoose could eclipse them at district with numbers. Astoria's strength lies in some throwers with good arms, but they are not as good on the track. It'll be an interesting battle. The boys also have an excellent shot at a district title, but it will be no cakewalk.

All in all, spring is shaping up to be a pretty exciting season locally. The local baseball and softball teams will be in the thick of the race, the track teams also have their strong points, and softball will be very competitive. I'm not quite sure just yet how golf and tennis will pan out, but they have good coaches and seem to improve over the course of the season.

I'm looking forward to some good things to write about and some good photo ops.