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Track teams look to make noise in league

by: File Photo / Vern Uyetake, 
Ali Super, the two-time defending state champion in the javelin, will try and make it a three-peat this spring as she enters her senior year. Both track teams feature talented athletes that should stack up well with the rest of the league.

When you talk about the outlook for West Linn High School track in 2008, you have to say super.

Ali Super, that is.

The senior standout captured her second straight state javelin championship last year with a heave of 154-5. She came out on top at state despite battling a torn arm muscle all season, so a healthy Super could really be something.

'Ali is looking good coming back,' said Head Coach Joe Cerny. 'We hope she's going to be a three-peat at state.'

As a two-time state gold medallist, Super is attracting a lot of attention from college track coaches.

'She's gotten inquiries from quite a few schools,' Cerny said, 'but she has yet to decide which one.'

The super Miss Super also figures to score a lot of points in the high jump for the Lions this year.

But Cerny, now in his sixth season as track coach at West Linn, isn't just feeling optimistic about his track teams' chances because of Ali Super.

'We're really young, but we've also got a lot of senior leadership on our distance crew,' he said.

A couple of fine seniors will lead the boys, miler Michael Bernert and 800-meter standout Taylor Kolasinski. Bryce Baker is an excellent hurdler, while Josh Holtman and Jacob Gianuzzi are young but good in the javelin. Returning in the shot put and discus are Austin Banta and Mitch Gaulke.

There is much depth and talent among the freshman distance crew, which is led by Cullen Wannarka and Taylor West.

'About five or six of those young puppies show a lot of promise,' Cerny said.

Youth is also the accent on the girls team, although there is some good senior leadership, such as from distance runner Diana Crane.

Thanks to freshman Elliot Prince and Natalie Pittenger in the 800, Cerny says, 'We're loaded in the distance events.'

Other top performers include hurdler Amy Kertek and freshman sprinter Sydney Veenker.

'Overall, we're really young,' Cerny said, 'but we're looking to be competitive. We've got some key returning seniors. We could finish in about the middle of the pack.'

With so much youth on the squad, the Lions may not be able to unseat preseason favorites Clackamas and Oregon City for the Three Rivers League championship. But Cerny is anticipating seeing his young team develop this season.

'I'm excited about our possibilities,' Cerny said. 'I'm extremely happy with our attitude and work ethic.'