by: Dave Ball, Colton Safely returns with a strong chance to advance to state in the javelin.

How does Sandy varsity track coach Anouxa Vixathep plan to replace two school record holders and a state champion this season?

With the depth that would make most coaches jealous.

'It is a problem I like to have depth,' Vixathep said. 'But at the same time we want to make the right decision for the runners as well as the team.'

Sandy graduated state champions Brenna Hoffman in the 400 meters, and school record holder in the same event, and Kayla Hendershot the school record holder in the hammer throw.

'Those two are going to be hard to replace, but we have the depth and talent to not only get close to them, they could be better,' Vixathep said.

Sandy's girl's team finished third in the Mount Hood Conference last season and was ninth at state. The boys were fourth in the conference and did not get a point in the state tournament.

'We had many losses on the boys team, but we have great depth on both teams and return a lot of strong, confident runners,' Vixathep said. 'We have great senior leadership and both of our teams should battle for conference championships.'

Sarah Kathrein returns after running the second fastest split time in the 400-meter relay last season. Also returning is Katie Pelchar, who finished third in the high jump last season at state and Siara and Savanna Leininger who were part of the championship relay team from two years ago and Vixathep knows he has more than he may need.

'We have freshman who will be strong, fast runners and we just don't know where we are going to put them,' Vixathep said. 'Then you add in Courtney Tripp with discuss and Ashley Moss in javelin and we will compete in our conference.'

Sandy will be one of the top three teams, with Gresham and St. Mary's the top two to beat.

On the boy's team, Jacob Cuniff returns for a full season after splitting time with the baseball team last season. Cuniff ran for the cross-country team and Vixathep says that he should be the team's top 800-meter runner.

'Jacob looks ready to make a difference on this team and in the best shape I have seen him in.'

Add in Toby Maunu, who qualified for state in cross county and Colton Safely who was last season's lone qualifier for state in the javelin.

Throw in a lot of newcomers, including Brennan Nelson in the 400 and Vixathep says the team will be tough.

'Brennan really dedicated himself to training and looks fit and smooth in his early training and running.'

Vixathep said that a successful season is not just wins, but if the kids have fun and improve all season. He says he will teach them when and how they need to compete to challenge for the conference title.

'The community should know is that this team is really proud of what the program has been able to accomplish,' Vixathep said. 'The coaching staff and the athletes work really hard every day for the sport busting there tails for the sport.'

On the boy's side, Vixathep said his goal is top three but knows a conference title may not be in the cards this year. Gresham, David Douglas and Central Catholic are favored and are stacked from top to bottom.

'If we can get top three and send as many to state, then this season will be perfect,' Vixathep said.

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