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Timberwolves loaded with excitement, talent


The Tualatin track squads look to make plenty of noise in 2013

by: DAN BROOD - QUICK NICK -- Tualatin High School junior Nick Hines looks to get off to a fast start in the 4 x 100-meter relay during the Timberwolves' season-opening meet at West Linn.TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School track and field teams look to be brimming with excitement heading into the 2013 season.

And, it appears, with good reason.

The Timberwolf squads look to possess a lot of talent and potential.

And, to top it off, Tualatin will be hosting this year’s Pacific Conference district championships.

Speaking of the Pacific Conference, the Tualatin girls look to be in the hunt to battle for the top spot in what should be a hotly contested league race this year.

“The district meet went down to the final event (last year), and I can see that happening again,” Tualatin coach Paul Zitzelsberger said. “Tualatin, Century, Hillsboro, Newberg, McMinnville and Tigard can all be in the mix. Each team has holes to fill. The team that does the best will be team champion.”

The Timberwolf girls know they can depend on a strong group of sprinters in 2013.

That group includes sophomore Ariana Pumpelly. Last year, Pumpelly won a district championship in the 200-meter dash and she was second in the 400. At the Class 6A state meet, she placed second in the 400 and fourth in the 200. She also helped lead both Tualatin relay teams to state last year.

Sophomore Aryana Harvey will run in the 100 and 200 as well as the 4 x 100 relay. Junior Jasmine Gilmore will compete in the 400 and on both relay teams. Junior Laura Taylor will run the 100 and 200 and the 4 x 100 relay. Freshman Amanda Morris will provide depth in the 100 and 200.

Taylor also should be a force in the pole vault. She placed sixth in that event at the state meet last year. She’ll be joined in that event by junior Lauren Balsiger, who missed her sophomore season due to injury.

“They give us a great one-two punch,” Zitzelsberger said.

In the distance events, Tualatin will have senior Kayla Moore and freshmen Emily Leonard and Amanda Keen.

Junior Kristi Workman leads the way for the Wolves in the hurdles. She was fourth in the 300 low hurdles at last year’s district meet. Sophomores Myranda Johnson and Mia de Haan will also compete in the hurdles.

In the throws, Tualatin will have junior Jasmine Suyematsu in the javelin. She placed fifth in that event at district last year. Freshman Sofie Ortiz, freshman Ashley Elisara, junior Maddison Souza and senior Sarah McDowell will contribute in the shot put and discus.

In the jumps, the Wolves will be led by senior Emily Wisler. Last year, Wisler was sixth at state in the triple jump and eight in the long jump. She’s also the defending district champion in the triple jump.

A group of newcomers, including freshman Karina Moreland, freshman Abby Anderson, sophomore Tegan Bracha, Morris and freshman Kendal Johnson will give the team depth in the long jump and triple jump.

The Tualatin boys team will be looåking to move up in the Pacific Conference standings this year.

“We’ll be improved significantly from last year,” Zitzelsberger said. “There is a lot of good energy on this team. It will be exciting to see the finished product.”

In the sprints, Tualatin will have junior Nick Hines, senior Saif Al Rikabi, senior Kyle Gager and senior Rigo Rodriguez covering the 100, 200 and 400.

“They are already quicker than last year,” Zitzelsberger said.

Tualatin’s distance crew should benefit from the addition of senior Scott Allred and sophomore Matthew Lovos.

Allred will run the 400 and 800. Lovos, who was second at the Pacific Conference district cross country meet in the fall, will run the 1,500 and 3,000. Sophomore returnee Billy Calder will run the 800, 1,500 and 4 x 400 relay. Newcomers Malachi Seib, Mark French, Jason Stallkamp and Eric Bryer should also contribute.

In the hurdles events, Tualatin will be led by junior Gator Pizer. He was seventh in the 300 intermediate hurdles event at last year’s district meet. Newcomers Robert Ellis, Austin Hunsdon and Mark Toda will also compete in the hurdles.

Junior Ryan Wisner, who will compete in the shot put and javelin, leads the throwers. Newcomers in those events include sophomore Garrison Saina (shot put) and freshman Grant Nielsen (shot put).

Senior Beau Kennedy will compete in all three jumping events. Wisner will be in the high jump. He placed third in that event at district last year.

Senior Durant Abernethy leads in the pole vault, and he also contributes in the high jump. Junior Logan Work also will pole vault for the Wolves.

As for the boys team race in the Pacific Conference this season, Zitzelsberger sees McMinnville, Newberg and Tigard as the possible favorites.

The Tualatin teams will open their Pacific Conference dual meet schedule on Wednesday when they host Forest Grove. Field events start at 3:45 p.m. and running events at 4 p.m.