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Laker track team returns state placers

Lake Oswego lacks depth but has a handful of top-flight athletes this spring


by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego's Connor Bracken won the state championship in the intermediate hurdles last year and returns to the Lakers this spring to defend his title.Lake Oswego' track team has some top flight competitors this year and hopes to be well represented at both district and state.

The Lakers have more than 135 kids out for the team this season and should be solid in the majority of events.

“We'll definitely be looking to peak at the end of the season,” coach Eric Lider said.

Lake Oswego's boys team returns a state champion in Connor Bracken and he should be among the best in the state in both hurdles events again this year.

Bracken also competes as a sprinter on the team's 4x100 relay that qualified for state last year. That entire relay team returns, featuring Yong Kim, Eric Soo and David Soo and hopes to place this season.

Lake Oswego has a strong sprint crew with Rocky Martin and Kyle Gazzigli also contributing this year.

Evan Palmer, Jase Jacobson and Linn Rising will helm a strong distance contingent for Lake Oswego as well.

Freshman Carter Bracken, Connor's younger brother, should be one of the team's most versatile athletes. He competes in the hurdles but is also a jumper and is solid in the javelin and pole vault.

“He'll do a little bit of everything for us I think,” Lider said.

Charlie Callen, who dealt with an injury for much of last season, should also be a big factor in the jumps for the Lake Oswego boys.

Michael DiRe will be one of the team's top throwers, specializing in the discus.

Mason Collett is back for the Lakers in the high jump after placing in the top five at state each of the past two seasons.

He should be one of the top competitors in Oregon in that event, which gives Lake Oswego a chance to pick up some big points at state.

For the girls, Riley Hatfield will be the team's top sprinter and will be bolstered by a handful of talented underclassmen.

In the distance events, Emma Smith, Dulcie Jones and Amy Moring should all be strong this year and have experience on the cross country team.

Mitra LeBuhn is back as one of the league's top hurdlers.

“It's definitely a goal to get her in the finals at state in both events,” Lider said.

The Lakers are perhaps deepest in the pole vault. Marissa Taylor is back after finishing third in state in that event last season. Taylor also competes in the javelin and discus for the Lakers.

Emily Eliott and Tory Edwards are also strong vaulters for Lake Oswego.

“We could have three really top girls in that event this year,” Lider said.

In the jumps, Kristen Parreno and Moring should each score well at meets for Lake Oswego while Kendall Jackson will likely be the team's top high jumper.

Lake Oswego hopes to be a competitive dual meet team this season and one that can do damage at the end of the year.

“We have some holes but we also have some top kids in a number of events but not a lot of depth,” Lider said.

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