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Lakeridge eyes girls track crown

If everyone matches their best marks of the season. the Clackamas girls team should win this year's district track meet by 20 points.

Fortunately for the rest of the teams in the Three Rivers League, the district meet won't be contested on paper. That's especially good news for Lakeridge, which late last month lost a dual meet to Clackamas by a lopsided score.

Lakeridge should fare much better at the district meet, which will be held today (Thursday) and Friday at West Linn High School. It will pit Clackamas' depth and versatility against a group of front-runners for the Pacers.

'The thing about Clackamas is they don't have very many weak events,' Lakeridge girls coach Ken James said earlier this week. 'We're probably going to have more individual winners.'

James can almost pencil in individual victories for Mandy White in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. She owns the best time in the state in the 100 and the second-best time in the 200. No one else from the Three Rivers League is even close to her on those two lists.

Lakeridge's chances for a district title would improve considerably if Samantha Berryman could win four events like she did two years ago as a freshman.

James wasn't sure what events to enter Berryman in this year since she's strong in so many of them. The coach finally chose the 100 high hurdles, the 300 low hurdles, the high jump and the triple jump.

If Berryman doesn't win the hurdles or the high jump, it easily could be a teammate that beats her. She is tied for the league's best mark in the 100 hurdles, along with teammate Stacy Sawin, who's only a freshman. Sawin also is No. 1-ranked in the low hurdles while Berryman is No. 2.

In the high jump, Berryman comes in with the district's third-best mark. First on that list is teammate Lexi Ross. In the triple jump, the top-ranked Berryman will pushed hardest by Clackamas' Caitlyn O'Neil.

O'Neil also slipped past White in the long jump, albeit barely, when the two teams met during the dual season.

Lakeridge's deepest event might be the javelin, where Andrea Hopkins is ranked No. 2, Kai Schmidt is ranked No. 3 and Ross is No. 10.

It's conceivable that the girls meet could be decided by the relay races. Clackamas is ranked first in both the short and long relays but Lakeridge is a close second.

In the short relay, James will use the same combination - White, Michaela McNairy, Sara Hursey and Jenna Horton - that finished ninth at last year's state meet. This year, that group is .03 of a second behind the Clackamas unit.

In the 4x400 relay, the Lakeridge team of Sawin, McNairy, Kathryn Collins and Horton is .3 of a second behind Clackamas.

Meanwhile, the Lake Oswego girls team is not a serious threat to the win the league title but the Lakers could rack up more points than a lot of people expect.

One of the leaders of this year's team has been freshman Tate Murray, who has been nothing short of outstanding in the 800, 1500 and 3000-meter races. Her best event is the 1500, where she is ranked No. 1 in the TRL and has an 11-second edge on Clackamas great Claire Michel.

Murray is also ranked No. 3 in the 800 and No. 4 in the 3000.

The Lakers also could pick up some points in the sprints. JoJo Faris is ranked No. 4 in the 100 and No. 9 in the 200. Teammate Jacqui Wallis is ranked No. 2 in the 400 and No. 8 in the 200.

Shelley Chestler and Lauren Ohlson are two of the Lakers' top threats in the distance races. Chestler is listed fifth-best in the 1500 and No. 6 in the 3000. Ohlson is seventh in the 800 and ninth in the 1500.

Emily Rohde also should score well in the 300 hurdles, where she's ranked fourth in the TRL. In the long jump and triple jump, Gina Contolini is ranked fifth and fourth, respectively.

Clackamas also is favored to win the boys meet, but there won't be any shortage of superb efforts from local athletes.

The most notable competitor on the boys side is Lake Oswego's Elijah Greer. He's not only ranked No. 1 in the league in the 800 and 1500, he's also the best in the state in those two events.

It could be a 1-2 finish for Lake Oswego in those two events at district. Just behind Greer in the rankings is teammate Riley Werner.

Another local, Lakeridge's Dave Marks, is favored to win the 3000. He has the league's best time by approximately seven seconds. Greer is ranked third on that list but he might forego that event to compete in the 800. Lake Oswego's James Ratliff is the league leader in both hurdle events.

Lakeridge's Zach Young should place high in the 100 and 200 meters, but beating Putnam's Joevonte Mayes could be difficult. The Lakers also have a solid contender in the pole vault where Lake Oswego's Curtis Houghton is the defending league champion.