MHCC TRACK PREVIEW - Amber Glunt returns to lead Mt. Hood's women
Mt. Hood Community College track and field coach Matt Hart expects records to fall this season, as his women's team appears to be a top contender for the Northwest title.
The Saints return the bulk of their top scorers from a year ago, highlighted by sophomore Amber Glunt - the high-point athlete at the championship meet.
But the biggest push for Mt. Hood comes with an increased roster, doubling its size to almost 20 athletes this spring. That should allow the Saints to challenge Spokane for this year's team title. The Sasquatch have swept the men's and women's crowns each of the last three seasons.
'We have the diversity and the talent to be up there,' Hart said. 'Last year, we won everything from the 1,500 on down, but Spokane won the meet by scoring all the third-and fourth-place points.'
Mt. Hood should be strongest on the track where Glunt is a threat in the hurdles and sprints. She scored in seven events at last year's championship meet, winning the 400 dash and 400 hurdles.
'Getting an Amber Glunt happens only once every 10 years,' Hart said. 'It's rare to see an athlete with her range of skills.'
Sheryl Breck adds a first-place threat in the distance races after winning the 800 and 1,500 titles as a freshman.
'She has a huge competitive streak,' Hart said. 'We are just working on her fitness, so she doesn't burn herself out in the first phase on her race.'
The Saints should get more scoring in the field events this year, led by a strong group of throwers highlighted by defending Northwest hammer throw champion Amanda Federici. Teammate Adrienne Davis was second in the shot put last year, while newcomer Chelsey Ramos won the Class 3A state shot put title in 2007.
'We have a lot of tough marks on the list from our 1981 junior college national championship team, but we're looking at some of those going down this year,' Hart said.
• The Mt. Hood men's team has some top talent, but a lack of depth will keep the Saints from challenging the elite teams in the Northwest.
Mt. Hood is strongest in the throws where sophomore Jacobsen Valentine from Gresham was second in the shot put at last year's championship meet.
'He is a power guy, but we're working on technique,' Hart said. 'He's on the verge of getting some big throws.'
Valentine is joined by Newberg's Sean Carey, who won the high school state shot put title in 2006.
The track is highlighted by he return of Reynolds graduate Jessy Brown, who will complete his sophomore season after serving his term in the military. He could challenge for the school record in the 800.
'He's always been a strong competitor, but we're working on him to be more logical with his racing,' Hart said. 'We want him to be in position with an open lane when it's time to get after it.'