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Its Clackamas and West Linn in girls track

Both teams return talent and experience

The 2007 Three Rivers League girls track and field title chase looks to be a two-team battle between Clackamas and West Linn, with Lakeridge lurking in the wings as a darkhorse.

Clackamas has a large turnout, which includes 14 athletes who placed in 12 individual events at last year's district meet. The Cavaliers have district-place winners returning in every individual event except the shot put, javelin and high jump. They've also got three legs returning from the district championship 1,600-meter relay team.

West Linn has 11 athletes who placed in 11 individual events returning, including three legs from a 1,600-meter relay team that was district runner-up to Clackamas.

The Lions are the defending district champion; the Cavaliers are the defending TRL dual-meet champion.

Lakeridge is led by track and field standouts Samantha Berryman and Mandy White. White won district titles in the 100 meters, 200 meters and long jump and she was a part of a Pacer 400-meter relay team that was a district runner-up.

Berryman placed at state in the low hurdles, high jump and long jump. She was district champion in the low hurdles, high jump and triple jump, and was runner-up to White in the long jump.

Clackamas is led by Claire Michel, the two-time defending state champion in the 3,000 meters, and the defending district champion in the 1,500 and 3,000.

Michel is healthy, after recovering from stress fractures that kept her from defending her state title in cross country last fall.

The Cavaliers also return the defending district champion in the 800 meters in junior Meryl Butcher.

Clackamas has gained an up-and-coming distance runner in junior Alyssa Guenther, a transfer from Putnam.

The Cavaliers will also be tough in the sprints. Senior Stephanie Persaud was district runner-up in the 100 and she placed third in the 200 a year ago.

Senior Kaley Jameson should be improved over last year, when she placed fourth at district in the 100 and seventh in the 200.

Junior Monica Strous returns in the 400, along with middle distance talent Abby Hoover.

Hoover, a senior, placed in both the 400 and 800 a year ago, and she teamed up with Butcher and Persaud to help pace Clackamas' 1,600-meter relay team to first place.

Clackamas returns a veteran hurdler in senior Melissa Im, who was district runner-up in both hurdles events a year ago. Sophomore Courtney Grogan, who placed fourth in the high hurdles as a freshman, also returns.

Cavalier sophomore Caitlyn O'Neil and Cavalier senior Whitney Jackson will be two of the TRL's top horizontal leapers. O'Neil placed second in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump at last year's district meet; Jackson placed fourth in the triple jump and eighth in the long jump.

Other proven performers include: senior Lydia Guenther in the 1,500; junior Aubrie Bass in the discus and senior Carly Lierman in the pole vault.

Clackamas also has some up-and-coming freshmen who could make an added impact.

Back to lead West Linn are junior Ali Super, the defending state and district champion in the javelin; senior Kelli Walters, the defending district champion in the high hurdles; and Sam Dewart, last year's district runner-up in the shot put and discus.

Oregon City has two district place-winners returning, senior Evan Bratcher, the defending district champion in the discus; and sophomore Emily Dent, last year's district runner-up in the 800.

Milwaukie has an outstanding pole vaulter returning in sophomore Rachel Jordan and one of the league's top sprinters, in junior Kaley Edwards. A district runner-up a year ago, Jordan has already cleared 10-2.

Putnam is led by seniors Rochelle and Janelle Dobson and Ashley Fullerton. The Dobson twins have been among the TRL's top competitors in the jumping events throughout their high school careers; Fullerton placed third in the shot put at last year's district meet.

West Linn hosts the TRL district meet on May 10-11.