Pair of former Sandy standouts anchor the Mt. Hood CC womens team this spring

A strong recruiting class of local talent is putting the Mt. Hood CC track and field program on the radar this spring.

The women’s team gets a charge with a pair of rookies that played a big part in Sandy’s runner-up finish at last year’s 5A state meet. The Saints landed thrower McKenzie Warren, who claimed state crowns in the discus and shot put. In her first college competition, she set school records in the discus (145-feet-2-inches) and the hammer throw (157-7) last weekend at the Linfield Icebreaker.

“We work hard to get the best athletes we can. The worst they can do is say no,” Mt. Hood CC coach Matt Hart said. “We’ve just started the season, and she’s already ahead of where she was throwing in high school and just has tons of potential.”

The Saints have also brought in 5A 200-meter champ Caitlyn Safley, who also made the finals in the 100 last spring.

“She’s a tough gal, and we love her attitude,” Hart said.

Sophomore Molly Scoles adds another scoring option in the sprints, while Barlow High’s Christa Collmer leads the charge in the middle distances coming off a cross country season that saw her win the South Region title.

“She’s more fit than she’s ever been,” Hart said. “She created a nice aerobic base during the fall, and now we’re emphasizing her speed.”

Collmer showed off some of that speed by winning the 800 (2:24.45) at last week’s Icebreaker meet.

The track team is also benefitting with the turnout of a handful of athletes from other sports. Whitney Warren from the basketball team has joined the sprint crew, while volleyball players Carrie Haguewood (jumps), Charlene Manning (multi-events) and Lihau Perreria (javelin) are also in the mix.

“We’re not a really deep team, but we’re potent in a lot of areas,” Hart said. “It’s never easy at our level, but we’ll be competitive in the Southern Region.”

? The boys team also has a strong local flavor led by the return of sophomore long jumper Zechariah McLaurin out of Centennial. He touched in over the board on all three of his prelimary tries at the Icebreaker, but was landing easily a foot farther into the pit than anyone else.

“His speed is way up. It’s like having a new toy. He’s got good pop, and once he gets on the board he’ll get some big marks.”

Also returning is Tyler Callahan out of Estacada, the school record holder in the javelin. He sat out last spring with an injury, but appears in full form early this year. He won the javelin at the Icebreaker with a heave of 188-6.

Chris Newell is also back after sitting out last season. He led the steeplechase most of the way during the Icebreaker before getting nipped at the finish line.

Cody Bierle (Reynolds), Eric Nelson (Open Door) and Caleb Coe (Damascus Christian) combined for a second-place effort in the 1,600 relay and will anchor the team’s sprint and middle-distance crew.

“We’re trying to tap into the community, and this year we have a strong team vibe and a lot of talent,” Hart said.

Mt. Hood CC hosts a multi-event meet March 29-30.

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