Putnam has talent, but Clackamas has the numbers
With the absence of defending district champion St. Helens from the league, Putnam and Clackamas are expected to battle it out for the Three Rivers League boys track and field crown in 2007.
Putnam hopes to rally around a handful of outstanding individuals to bag the district crown; Clackamas, with 80 athletes contending, hopes to win on numbers.
The Cavaliers proved they are going to be a factor before spring break, when they upset Putnam 73-72 in a dual meet.
Led by a host of talented sprinters, Putnam has the top returning athletes in the league in five individual events.
Seniors Joevonte Mayes and Logan Fjelstad and sophomore Ricky Garcia should dominate the sprints. They were on a relay team that finished runner-up at last year's district meet.
Mayes is the defending district champion in the 100 meters; Fjelstad is the defending district champion in the 200; Fjelstad and Garcia placed one-two in the 400 meters at last year's district meet.
Putnam sophomore Andrew Gay is the top returning athlete in the shot put. Gay also returns as one of the top athletes in the discus and high hurdles.
Putnam senior Jacob Smith is the top returning athlete in the long jump and one of the top returnees in the javelin.
Other Putnam district place-winners returning include: senior Paul Stirneman in the javelin, junior Barrett Zetterberg in the hurdles, and junior Matt Regan in the middle distances.
Clackamas doesn't have the standout athletes that Putnam has. But the Cavaliers have athletes who can earn points in every event.
Top prospects returning from last year include: seniors Ryan Keene (800), Justin Inahara (discus), Jarod Owens (horizontal jumps) and Kevin Scheiber (pole vault); juniors Grant Eldridge (distances) and Greg Inahara (hurdles); and sophomores Gabe Garza (sprints) and David Marcus (hurdles).
Junior Eric Serres made some waves in the hurdles at the recent meet with Putnam, winning the highs in 15.26 and the lows in 41.07.
The Cavaliers also have a freshman distance runner, John Paden, who is going to make an impact.
Oregon City sees itself as a darkhorse in the league title chase. The Pioneers sport some young talent, along with veterans Jack Hippler (pole vault), Kasey Ahsing (javelin), Michael Sweet and Travis Harper (middle distances), Corey Misley (horizontal jumps) and Derek Hinkle (high jump).
Milwaukie will be young and inexperienced. Back to lead the Mustangs are distance talent Ryan McLaughlin, throws specialist Jimmy Haman, and high jumper Tim Gonzales.