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Track teams gear up for stretch run

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Sami Demars clears the bar in last week’s high jump competition at Putnam. The next day, Demars won the event at the Aloha Relays, clearing 4’11, her best jump of the season. The West Linn girls took third place overall.

Heading into the stretch run of the season, the West Linn track team appears to be on the verge of peaking at exactly the right time.

Both teams had strong showings in their most recent dual meet against Putnam and last week's Aloha Relays in which the West Linn girls finished third. The Lions looked to carry that momentum into their most important dual meet of the year against Lakeridge, held yesterday (results not available at press time.)

The girls team has a chance to run the table in the Three Rivers League, a feat that would give the Lions plenty of momentum heading into districts.

Taking third at the Aloha Relays came as a pleasant surprise to coach Scott Spear who knew that his team might still be recovering from the Putnam meet, held just one day previously.

But the Lions were impressive, taking home a number of individual championships en route to their third place finish.

'We weren't really expecting much. It's tough to have back-to-back meets but I was very pleased,' Spear said.

As expected, Ali Super took home the javelin event with a throw of 137'04, beating her closest competitor by nearly eight feet.

Sam Dewart was equally dominant in the discus, throwing 117'04 and winning that event by over 10 feet. Nikki Aden finished fifth in that event.

Sami Demars was one of the best stories of the afternoon. After scratching on the opening height in the high jump, Demars refocused and cleared 4'11, which was good enough to win the event in less than ideal weather conditions.

'She started out a little shaky but after that first miss she just kept clearing heights,' Spear said.

West Linn's relay teams were also instrumental in helping the Lions to their top-three finish. The Lions won the 4x800 anchored by Natalie Pittenger, who came from behind to claim the victory.

'We knew we could put together a really good team and I think all of the girls ran faster splits. It shows they're maturing,' Spear said.

The Lions' 4x100 relay team of Kaitllyn Reid, Taylor Brooke, Kellie Walters and Jazmine Whitlock took sixth and the 4x400 team came in ninth.

Walters also tallied a pair of fifth place finishes in both hurdle events as she continues to post faster times as the season progresses.

Against Putnam, the Lions cruised to victory, winning the bulk of the events contested. Whitlock won both the 100 and 400 meters while Dewart was a dual winner in the shot put and the discus.

Spear knows that Lakeridge will give the Lions a strong test. The Pacers boast some phenomenal athletes but West Linn compensates with its superior depth, meaning that the upcoming district meet could come down to the wire.

'We're hoping our depth will pay off. We might not have a ton of champions but we'll have a bunch of kids in the finals,' Spear said.

The boys team meanwhile, put up a strong fight against Putnam despite the fact that their top three distance runners were at a Model UN event and didn't attend the meet.

Charlie Lammers filled in admirably, taking second in the 1500 meters while sophomore Neil Rajput won the 3000.

Shawn Miller won the 300 hurdles and finished second in the 110 hurdles, behind Putnam's Alex Gay.

'Our kids did what they needed to do. I think we might have been able to catch (Putnam) with a full squad but I was pleased with the results,' coach Joe Cerny said.

West Linn dominated the jumping events as Spencer Dorway cleared 5'10 to win the high jump.

Nick Kemner won the pole vault while Miller captured his second event of the afternoon in the long jump.

Both Miller and Nico Matthews beat Putnam's star athlete Joevonte Mayes in that event and Matthews also won the triple jump, followed closely by James Low.

'James just started jumping two weeks ago and this is Spencer's first year out for track so any experience we can get them is beneficial,' Cerny said.

At the Aloha Relays, sprinter Sambaran Chatterjee took seventh in the 100 meters while Miller was a highlight in the hurdles.

Miller took third in the intermediate hurdles in a time of 41.67 and was seventh in the high hurdles.

Dorway took seventh in the high jump with a leap of 5'9 and Low recorded a top-10 finish in the triple jump, taking seventh in that event as well.

The West Linn boys will also be tested by Lakeridge as the two teams match up well and Cerny hopes that the results will give his team confidence heading into districts.

'The team's attitude has been terrific. We're just hoping to finish the season strong and close out the season with two dual meet wins,' Cerny said.