Dettmann finds spot with Pilots

TRACK AND FIELD - Centennial senior signs on with University of Portland
by: David Ball 
Andrea Dettmann, 66, is the two-time defending Mount Hood Conference champion in the 3,000 meters and also won the district cross country title in 2009 before taking second in the race last fall. She is headed to the University of Portland to run next season.

To those close to her, it comes as no surprise that Centennial distance runner Andrea Dettmann is exploring a career in the nursing field. While many of her training days are spent pounding the pavement by herself, Dettmann has found the greatest joy in helping others as a standout member of the Eagles' cross country and track teams over the past four years.

'She's a very caring person,' Centennial girls track coach Diane Crane said. 'She really connects with all the kids on the team - she's just a thoughtful and giving person.'

Nowhere was that more evident than this year's district 3,000-meter final where Dettmann, the defending champion, toed the line alongside rookie teammate Kirra Morally.

'She put her arm around Kirra and said 'Let's go get this',' Crane said. 'I think she was more concerned about how Kirra did in that race, than she was about herself.'

Dettmann won the race easily, but sacrificed chasing an impressive time for being a rabbit that Morally could chase, setting a pace that would allow both of them to qualify for the state meet in Eugene. Morally did just that, putting on a late surge and moving up three spots over the final few laps to give Centennial a rare 1-2 finish.

'For me it's more about the awesome coaches I've had and the great friendships I've built - those are the things you take with you,' Dettmann said.

She has collected plenty of medals during her prep career, winning the district cross country crown in 2009 and taking second last fall. She is also a two-time 3,000 champ in track and a two-time state qualifier in the 1,500, as well. Dettmann is noted for her off-season work ethic, maintaining 40-mile weeks even during the dead of winter when she'll layer three deep in sweat pants to brave below-freezing temperatures.

'She always found something to do, even when the weather was bad, to build her strength,' Centennial cross country coach Greg Letts said. 'She is always doing something to make herself better.'

Nursing played a key role in her college choice, as well, landing her nearby on the bluff at the University of Portland. Dettmann will be graduating with a 3.98 GPA in a few weeks, and academics were a major part of her decision.

'They have a great nursing program, and that moved Portland right to the top of my list,' Dettmann said.

The Pilots aren't too shabby on the running trails either, taking second at the West Coast Conference cross country championships last fall.

'It's a really big bridge to gap,' Dettmann said. 'I know the jump will be hard. You're getting all the top runners from high school, and the times are really fast.'

Dettmann knows something of the transition, as her older sister Michelle will be entering her senior season on the distance squad at Colorado State.