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City Meet features showdown between two undefeated teams

TRACK PREVIEW - Gresham and Barlow boys battle for MHC supremacy

The Barlow and Gresham boys track and field teams have been perfect so far this season, but that will end for one of the rivals in the regular-season finale Tuesday, May 1.

The teams will meet in the much-anticipated primetime City Meet, a three-way between Gresham, Barlow and Centennial. Both teams have dominated action this season with Gresham winning its meets by a league-best 48.4 points.

'I'm expecting a close meet, but Gresham is the defending champion and they are definitely the team to beat,' Barlow coach Sherry Gustafson said.

The teams will be matching strength against strength for most of the meet. The most pivotal showdowns appear to be in the sprints where Gresham's Shawn Lambert holds the league's top times in the 100-and 200-meter races. But the Barlow trio of Eric Capelle, Jerell Ramos and Malcolm Johnson are close behind on the list.

'The sprints we be a big impact,' Gustafson said. 'All of those races could go either way - it's just going to come down to who's ready to race on that given day.'

Capelle holds the fastest time in the state in the high hurdles (14.62 seconds), but should be challenged by Gresham standout Robert Manwell. Other potential showdowns include Gresham's Emerald Ressler vs. Barlow's Dillon Ballard in the jumps and Gresham's Sam Crouser vs. Barlow's Alex Hymel in the javelin.

'We match up closely in a lot of events,' Gustafson said. 'Getting wins will be important, but scoring those second-and third-place points will also count for a lot.'

The team results could come down to the relays where the two teams are dominating the conference. Barlow has the best time in the 400 tag-team race, while Gresham ranks fastest in the meet-ending 1,600 relay. A sweep of both relay races would result in a 20-point swing in the final team score.