The Pioneers pile up several good marks and engage in solid competition vs. Centennial and St. Mary's

The Sandy track and field team is gradually preparing itself for the meat of its 2007 schedule, and so far, things are looking just fine.

The Pioneer boys defeated visiting Centennial 91-53 in a three-way dual meet April 4, and the girls also defeated the Eagles 88-56.

St. Mary's stole some of the girls' thunder, though, as it went home with a 82-63 victory over the Pioneers.

Track newcomer Garret Cartner enjoyed another solid meet for the Pioneers, winning the 100-meter dash, placing second in the 200 sprint and assisting the 400 relay team en route to its triumphant run.

Pioneer Devin Connell also shined, nabbing a first-place slot in a close 800 run with a time of 2 minutes and 11.02 seconds.

'It was a slow race,' Connell said, 'but it worked out fine because I had enough left at the end.'

Connell was confident that he could break the 2 minute barrier at some point this season.

'I've already ran a 2:05 at (the Linfield Icebreaker),' he said. 'By the end of the year, my goal is to be about 2 - and hopefully break 2. It would be a big improvement, but that's what I want to get to.'

Connell also recorded a personal-best time in the 1,500 run, clocking in at a team-best 4 minutes, 37.14 seconds.

'I hadn't ran it at all this year,' he said, 'so I didn't really know what to expect. I had forgot my pace, how to run it. But it was a (personal record) for me, which was nice.'

Several girls had prolific days running too.

Senior star Brenna Hoffman had winning times in both the 200 and 400 meter runs, and Hoffman joined teammates Sarah Kathrein, Malia Ingrao and Siara Leininger for the winning effort in the 400 relay.

Out in the field, Kevin Warren took home top honors in both the shot put and discus, making throws of 45-feet-4-inches and 127-feet-6-inches, respectively.

Warren's goal is to eclipse the 50-foot mark in the shot put at some point this season.

'I'm hoping so,' he said. 'We've been working really hard at it. That's what I've wanted from the beginning of the season. Right now, we're barely in the season and I'm throwing 45 pretty easy. I should be up at 50 - that's what I'm hoping for.'

Warren also indicated that his discus throw might make it to the 150-foot range as the 2007 season rolls on.

'I'm still working on the spin,' he said, 'but once I get it all down, I should be able to throw 150 pretty easily. Hopefully it works out in my favor.'

Warren also thought fellow discus thrower Blake Bithell - who finished second to Warren in the discus with a mark of 125-feet-11-inches - would significantly increase his distance in the event as time goes on.

'He's doing really well too,' Warren said of Bithell. 'We've been working together a lot, competing against each other. He's right in there with me. Blake and I want to take the 1-2 spots - either me or him - because we both want to get up there and throw pretty good. It's fun.'

Odds and ends: Freshman Colton Safley had a terrific meet, winning the javelin hurl with a mark of 164-feet-four inches, which was a significantly longer throw than the second-best mark of 155-feet-11-inches, obtained by Centennial's Craig Irby. Safley's javelin toss puts him at No.2 in the Mount Hood Conference as of press time.

Other event winners for the Pioneers included Ingrao, who nabbed a top long jump mark of 15-feet-2-inches; Kayla Hendershot, who tossed the discus 126-feet-1-inches; Katie Pelchar, who produced a meet-best high jump mark of 5-feet-4-inches; Ashlee Neal, whose pole vault of 9-feet-6-inches won top girls honors quite easily; Pat Fox, who gave the boys a win in the pole vault with a mark of 10-feet-6-inches; and Jordan Gray, who topped all long jumpers with a mark of 20-feet-9-inches in his varsity debut. Gray now has the best long jump mark in the conference.

Also, Ryan Ball claimed top honors in the 200 and 400 sprints and was part of winning teams for both the boys 400 and 1,600 relays. Ball was joined by teammates Jake Seidel, Christopher Wagner and Cartner in both relays.

Ball's mark of 22.92 in the 200 was the first time the sprinter had gone under 23 seconds. Ball, recovering from a slew of recent injuries, now looks to be regaining his pre-injury form.

Also performing well was Ashlee Moss, who threw a personal-best javelin toss.

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