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Tualatin boys are ready to step up

TRACK: The Wolves will have a lot of new faces on the track in the 2007 season
by: DAN BROOD, THROWING STAR – Tualatin junior Dennis Ranck should be one of the top competitors in the Pacific Conference in both the discus and shot put events.

TUALATIN - The Tualatin High School boys track and field team looks to have a new look this year.

Gone are many of the Wolves top competitors from a year ago. But that doesn't mean that 2007 will be a down year at Tualatin.

'We lost a lot to graduation,' Tualatin coach Paul Zitzelsberger said. 'But we have some others that are stepping up.'

The Tualatin boys, as they've been in the past, could be strong in the sprints again this year.

Senior Sean Hamilton returns in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes. He placed fifth in the 100 at last year's Pacific-9 Conference district meet.

Tualatin also will have junior Jesse Clemente, who is coming back from a football injury, and senior Chris Reid in the sprints.

Reid is back for his senior season after not running track as a junior. As a sophomore, he placed third in the 400 at the district championships.

In the hurdles, Tualatin will have junior Andrew Patton senior Omar Cuevas and sophomore Anthony Cook. Patton was sixth in the 110 high hurdles and seventh in the 300 intermediate hurdles at district last year.

The distance running crew includes senior Jeff Wheeler, who ran to fifth in the 800 at district last year.

Other distance runners include sophomore Bubba Plunkett, who earned a state meet bid during last fall's cross country season, sophomore Kevin Oliver, junior Patrick Kubisiak, junior Kevin McNaught and sophomore Cole Brown, who will likely run the 400 and 800.

In the throws, the Wolves will feature junior Dennis Ranck, who went to state last year after placing second in the shot put at the Pac-9 district meet. He also was third in the discus at district.

Other key throwers for Tualatin include sophomore Robert Kennedy in the shot put and discus and seniors Matt Biddle and Mitch Thaler in the javelin.

Senior Ian Ferguson-Semper will compete in the high jump.

Junior Jonathan Erickson will pole vault and long jump, as well junior Jon Skoglund. Sophomore Phil Pauly will compete in the long jump as well as in the sprints.

As for the battle for the Pacific Conference boys team title this year, Zitzelsberger sees Canby and Tigard as the favorites.

'That's based on what they have back from last year,' he said. 'I see us, with some holes to fill, being in the middle of the pack.'