Challengers ready to get after Crusaders
But the Crusaders don't plan on relinquishing their Metro League crown without a fight
This may be the year, maybe, that somebody other than Jesuit will win the Metro League boys track and field title.
Or it may not.
While Jesuit is younger and less experienced than it has been in several years, the Crusaders still bring back a ton of proven talent that they'll use to try and keep Sunset and Westview at bay.
'Westview and Jesuit will compete,' said Aloha coach Bill Volk. 'Westview is pretty strong in the field and on the track.'
'Sunset is going to be a real good dual meet team, although I don't know how well they'll fare in the big meets,' said Jesuit coach Tom Rothenberger. 'And Westview is solid. They're good overall.'
Still, there are plenty of Jesuit believers out there among the Metro League's six coaches.
'I think the favorite has to be Jesuit with their stable of outstanding distance runners,' Sunset coach Kevin Landon said. But 'I think Westview will also be a team to beat.'
'Until someone can match up against (Jesuit's) volume and depth, they will continue to be dominant in league,' added Southridge coach Terry Rife.Following are previews of the varsity boys track and field teams from the six Metro League high schools.
ALOHA - The 2008 version of the Aloha boys track team is young to be sure - some 65 percent of its athletes are sophomores and freshmen - but the Warriors still believe they have what it takes to compete in the Metro League.
'I think we'll be competitive in most of our meets,' said Aloha coach Bill Volk. 'I don't foresee a league championship or second-place finish, but we want to compete, help our studs improve and make sure they don't lose their edge.'
This year's team will be led by senior javelin thrower Colin Looney (he was fifth in the Metro League last year), senior hurdler Derek Barfuss (a transfer from Pendleton who made the 5A state finals last year) and sophomore David Fleming in the 400 and 800 meters.
'I think our strength lies in our freshman and sophomore core,' Volk said. 'They're enthusiastic and energetic, and they're our core on the field and on the track.'
Other returning district placewinners are junior distance runner Kevin Sepulveda, senior hurdler Ryan Johnson and senior shotputter Chris Newton.
100-200 - Jamie Marrs, So.; Vince Mull, Jr.; Imeh Archibong. 400-800 - David Fleming, So.; Derek Olson, Jr.; Trey Trahin, Sr. 1500-3000 - Jason Waldram, Jr.; Kevin Sepulveda, Jr.; Matt Moore, Sr. Hurdles - Derek Barfuss, Sr.; Ryan Johnson, Sr.; David Paolo, Jr. Jumps - Dustin Aldrich, Jr.; Chris Newton, Sr.; Dylan Salinas, Sr. Pole Vault - Jake Stone, Sr.; Eric Pinnock, Jr. Throws - Colin Looney, Sr.; Jake Fisher, So.; Newton; Michael Falvey, Jr.; Mull; Justin Toedtmeier, Sr.; Spencer Moe, Sr.
BEAVERTON - The cupboard is not exactly bare at Beaverton this year, but the Beavers know that there's work to be done and additional stars yet to be discovered if they hope to compete with the rest of the talented Metro League in 2008.
'We are hoping for some more surprises to step up and I am sure some will, but as I said, we are in the 'star search' mode right now,' said Beaverton coach Jim Archer.
This year's Beavers will be led by throwers Matt Lewis (a junior) and Colin Currier (a senior), senior sprinter Riley Schmutzer, senior jumper Adam Bowlsby and senior distance runners Vincent Kirse and Brandon Taft. Junior Brad Bettendorf and senior Maneesh Arora will also battle for Beaverton in the middle distances while junior Ryan Bax has already provided some unexpected punch in the long jump.
'The boys do not boast the same number of stars as the girls team,' Archer said. 'Our best performers are in the throws with junior Matt Lewis and senior Colin Currier in the disc and shot.'
100-200 - Riley Schmutzer, Sr.; Brad Noonan, Jr.; James Testa, Sr. 400-800 - Maneesh Arora, Sr.; Brad Bettendorf, Sr; R.J. Liggins, Sr. 1500-3000 - Vincent Kirse, Sr.; Brandon Taft, Sr. Hurdles - Adam Bowlsby, Sr.; Rob Liggins, So.; Logan Veith, Sr. Jumps - Bowlsby; Ryan Bax, Jr.; Michael Spisak, Jr. Pole Vault - Conner Smith, So. Throws - Matt Lewis, Jr.; Colin Currier, Sr.; Tony Falotico, Sr.
BEAVERTON - Believe it or not, Jesuit is younger and more vulnerable than it has been in years.
And believe it or not, the Crusaders may still turn out to be the Metro's best.
'We're kind of young. We're in a bit of a building mode,' said Jesuit coach Tom Rothenberger. 'But that makes it kind of an exciting year in that way.'
It's also exciting when you have the kind of talent Jesuit does in a building year, including senior Brian Manning, the reigning Metro champ in the 1500 and 3000, senior 800 champ Tim Kessler and senior pole vault champ Jake Baertlein to name just a few.
'We have our obvious traditional strength in the distances and we have some depth there too,' Rothenberger said. 'Our short is already faster than ever for this time of year and Jake Baertlein has already gone 14-6 in the vault.'
Other proven returners include sophomore Keanon Lowe in the sprints, senior Hans Hagmeier in the 800, senior Peter Maag in the distances and senior Ramazan Muhammad in the jumps.
100-200 - Keanon Lowe, So.; Raphiel Lambert, Sr.; Anthony Blake, Jr.; Mitch Fry, Jr.. 400-800 - Tim Kessler, Sr.; Hans Hagmeier, Sr.; Brandon Knutson, Jr. 1500-3000 - Brian Manning, Sr.; Peter Maag, Sr.; Lucas Rothenberger, Sr.; Patrick Maag, Jr.; Christian Burger, Jr.; Willie Milam, So. Hurdles - Jake Baertlein, Sr.; Nat Bellamy, So.; Robbie Dodson. Jumps - Lambert; Jordan Talley, Fr.; Michael Link, So.; Nigel Rogers, Fr.; Knutson; Ramazan Muhammad, Sr.; Adam Grodahl, Sr.; Irvin Seo, So. Pole Vault - Baertlein; Michael Clarke, Jr. Throws - Conner McMenamin, Jr.; Matt Leewong, Jr.; Alex Bogrand, Sr.; Ken Ulrich, So.; James Huddleston, Jr.
BEAVERTON - Southridge was one of the Metro League's elite teams last year, battling Jesuit tooth-and-nail through league, district and state.
The Skyhawks may well be in that strata again in 2008, but to get there, it's going to take a whole lot of hard work.
I think 'we will be competing for the No. 3 spot in Metro this year,' said Southridge coach Terry Rife. 'Our goal is to maximize what we have and compete to the best of our abilities, (but) our depth is limited so the important key to our success will be staying healthy.'
Still, the Skyhawks feature the returning Metro League high jump champ in senior Austen Timm and a couple other 'sure things' in senior middle distance runner Michael Brown and senior sprinter Dan Smith. All three are team captains, and their long-term development is one of Rife's great joys.
'It is a highlight in coaching to see athletes begin as freshman in your program and through hard work and development morph into district and state contenders,' she said. 'These young men are classic examples of what can happen with perseverance, determination and proper training.'
100-200 - Dan Smith, Sr.; Jamie Cady, Sr.; Marquez Blacksher, Sr.; A.J. Riley, So. 400-800 - Michael Brown, Sr.; Kyle Bailey, Sr. 1500-3000 - Brown; Kurtis Semph, Jr.; Jake Kiene, So. Hurdles - Luke Leddige, So. Jumps - Austin Timm, Sr.; Eric Lovato, Sr.; Terry Norris, Jr. Pole Vault - Tyson Welling, Sr. Throws - Trevor Harmon, Jr.; Paul Tuma, Jr.; Sam Evers, Sr.
CEDAR MILL - Behind top performers in nearly every event, Sunset has emerged as a serious threat to Jesuit's Metro stranglehold.
'Our goal every year is to compete for the Metro title,' Sunset coach Kevin Landon said. 'This year we think we have the team to seriously contend for it, but we still need to put all the pieces together.'
The Apollos have two big 'pieces' in seniors Garrett Sim and Ryan Meyer. Sim took 3rd in the long jump and 4th in the triple jump at the 2007 state meet and 'should contend for state titles' in each, according to Landon.
Meyer was the Metro champion and 5th at state in the 400 meters in 2007
'Ryan will be an iron man for us in the 200 and 400 and will run key legs on both relays in which we expect to contend for the Metro top spots,' Landon said.
Senior thrower Ben Novak and junior hurdler Taylor Abdie (hurdles) have also surfaced as serious threats.
'If (Novak) keeps improving, we expect him to have a shot a going to the state meet (in the shot and discus),' Landon said. '(Abdie) should contend for the top spot in both hurdle races.'
100-200 - Garrett Sim, Sr.; Ryan Meyer, Sr.; Justin Yan, Sr.; Bryce Lamberson, Sr., Deonte Powe, Sr. 400-800 - Meyer; Ryan Kavanaugh, Jr.; Tad Herzog, Jr.; Paul Graves, Jr.; Ben Loveday, Jr. 1500-3000 - Kavanaugh. Hurdles - Taylor Abdie, Jr.; Kevin Zechenelly, Jr.; Armando Andrade, Jr.; Jake Vroman, Jr. Jumps - Sim; Powe; Phil Campbell, Sr.; Berthy Nyembo, Jr.; Dominique Delgado, Jr.; Buck Tufty, Sr. Pole Vault - Bryce Lamberson, Sr. Throws - Wes Wenzel, Jr.; Ben Novak, Sr.; Colton Tuhy, Jr.; Ricky Kayfes, So.; Campbell.
ROCK CREEK - They're deep. They have solid performers across the board. And Westview is in line to make a push for league supremacy in 2008.
'We have a lot of pieces, that's for sure,' Westview coach Rob Casteel said. 'It's not just depth, it's breadth. It's a pretty broad team of talent.'
A good deal of it lies in the field events where the Wildcats have a strong crew of jumpers and throwers.
'We're like two-deep in every event,' Casteel said. 'Because of those field events, we're a pretty good dual-meet team.'
Seniors Keith Rader, David Gertson, who took eighth at state in the shot put last year, and Max Munson give Westview three top-notch throwers. A trio of high jumpers - senior Sam Haag and juniors Kellen Austin and Robert Casteel - fill the Metro's top-5 clearances for 2008. Seniors Geoff Bailey and Andrew Corbin do likewise in the pole vault
Sophmore Daniel Keel is a top sprinter and returning state qualifier in the 200. Senior Nick Bugas, a 2007 state qualifier in the 800, and juniors Alex Emberlin and Erik Meyers well cover the middle and distance races.
Senior Richard Arnold (hurdles) and Kevin LeRoy (long jump, triple jump) have also emerged.
100-200 - Daniel Keel, So.; Jeffrey Sankhagowit, Jr.; Gabe Krebs, Fr.. 400-800 - Sankhagowit; Alex Emberlin, Jr.; Nick Bugas, Sr.;. 1500-3000 - Erik Myers, Jr.; Emberlin. Hurdles - Richard Arnold, Sr.;. Jumps - Sam Haag, Sr.; Kellen Austin, Jr.; Robert Casteel, Jr.; Kevin LeRoy, Sr.; Collin Brehm, Jr. Pole Vault - Geoff Bailey, Sr. Andrew Corbin, Sr. Throws - Keith Rader, Sr.; David Gertson, Sr.; Max Munson, Sr.