It’s funny how time doesn’t seem to fly for the Culver girls track and field team.

That seems to be the case after the Bulldogs opened the 2014 season last week at home with the Culver Invitational. They picked up right where they left off last season, which bodes well for a team looking to improve on its fourth-place finish at state in 2013.

“Our returning kids are really kind of starting off where they left off last season,” Culver coach Mike Dove said. “They are stronger than they were at the beginning of last season and we’ve already had some really good, positive performances. And knowing what kind of workouts and what we’ve done with our athletes and their performances thus far, I’m really impressed.”

And that is exactly what Dove wanted to see, especially with the expectations that his teams have going forward.

The core group of Hannah Lewis, Ana Bedillo, Angelica Metteer, Andrea Retano, Lynze Shonneker and Gabrielle Alley are right where they need to be, Dove said. Jessica Johnson, a freshman, has already shown she will find a place among that group as the season moves forward.

“Those girls have been impressing me,” Dove said.

Although the team took third at its own invite — the Bulldogs were just half a point behind Madras — the individual performances are solid.

Lewis started off her year by winning the 400- and 800-meter races and anchored both the 400 and 1,600 relay teams to wins. Metteer won the 1,500 and was second in the 800 and ran a leg on both relays, while Bedillo took first in the 200 and Schonneker won the shot put.

Johnson, just a freshman, was third in the 110 hurdles and ran the first leg of the 1,600 relay.

The Bulldogs also took a handful of athletes to Santiam Thursday and got wins by Metteer, Lewis and Retano in individual events and won the 1,600 relay.

“All the way around, we’re progressing like we want to,” Dove said.

While the girls are off and running, the boys are right there with them.

Freshman Jaiden Jones has already grabbed Dove’s attention after running a 12.09 100 and a 25.04 200 Thursday at home. Brandon Hawes got his season off to a great start with wins in both the 1,500 and 3,000 runs.

Corey Sledge (pole vault), Alex Pettersen (discus) and Jordan Henson (shot put) also claimed wins in their first outing.

But Dove was really pleased to see his 1,600 relay team run a 3:55.86 at Santiam. The foursome of Carlos Reyes, Tristan Bogart, Jeremiah Henson and Joey Fraser have posted a time ranked third in the Tri-River Conference as of now.

“Those boys were running in a monsoonal downpour and ran a 3:56,” Dove said. “That was pretty impressive for the four boys that we had running. I was really pleased with them.”

Sledge has matched his personal best in the pole vault already this year, going 12-6. He has been working his way up to some new poles and Dove sees huge numbers coming.

“He’s really progressing,” Dove said. “If we can get a good weather day, he’s going to go pop a big one. “

While things are off and running well, Dove sees the Bulldogs’ final home meet of the season, which was Tuesday, being a good measuring stick for both teams.

With four of last season’s top six girls teams at the state meet in town (Kennedy, Regis, Grant Union and Culver), the Bulldogs will know exactly where they stand. The results were after the Pioneer's deadline

The Bulldogs head to Burns on Saturday.

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