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Young track team looks to develop talent

The Lions have a large contingent of underclassmen to help the squad compete in the TRL


by: DAN BROOD - Roman Ollar is part of a strong distance corps for the West Linn boys track team this year.The West Linn track team is young and talented again this year which has been par for the course of late.

Close to 130 athletes are out for the boys and girls teams this year with a large contingent of freshmen and sophomores.

The girls team has a strong mix of youth and experience with some top names returning in sprinters Madison Leek and Cara Boucher.

Leek is already the most accomplished sprinter in the history of West Linn women's track and Boucher brings experience to what should be a pair of very strong relays.

“We'll be very strong in those events again this year,” coach Joe Cerny said.

Helping to round out the relays and giving West Linn depth in the sprints are a pair of youngsters in Julianna Guthner and Isabella Reicher who have both been impressive early in the season.

Sophomore Paige Leek, Madison's younger sister, should make a big impact on the team in the hurdles this year while West Linn's distance corps, led by veterans Rebecca Donnelly and Leah Henningsen should be strong as well.

The Lions have some holes in the line-up, however, in the field. Despite good numbers, West Linn is lacking in standout performers in the throwing events.

Meredith Bowers is back for the Lions and specializes in the discus and the team is hoping to find other individuals to step up throughout the year.

In the long jump and triple jump, West Linn will turn to Lacey Gunther to score in dual meets.

“We'll be a factor this year. I don't think we have enough overall depth to win (districts) but we'll be a spoiler, especially on the track,” Cerny said.

For the boys, the Lions have very few returners which opens the door for its large crop of freshmen and sophomores to make a name for themselves.

West Linn should be very solid in the distance events, returning the likes of Connor Cushman and Tyler Griffin.

“We have a lot of the cross country kids out and so that group is really strong,” Cerny said.

In the sprints, Mario Mastrandrea returns to give the group some experience while freshman Mason Craig has been solid in early practices.

In the hurdles, Tristan Stallcup should be one of the best in the league again this season.

Drew Cribbs should also be a factor for the Lions in the javelin this season but, once again, the team is shallow in the throwing events.

“We'll have a lot of freshmen and sophomores in a lot of events and so our job is to try and develop them and hope they stick with the program,” Cerny said.



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