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La Grande’s Caleb Woodworth is ready to take aim at the top marks in the state. Woodworth currently owns to top throw of the season in Class 4A.
Tigers are loaded with talent and ready for the track and field season
La Grande head coach Julie Bodfish is stuck with a problem. However, it’s a problem that most coaches would love to have — too much talent.
The Tigers track and field team is loaded and ready to take aim at boys and girls Greater Oregon League titles once again, and a little more.
“We have set very high expectations,” Bodfish said. “It will be interesting to see how things shake out. There’s a great group of kids returning from last year, and a strong freshman class to help fill out the team.”
The only setback is that La Grande, like every other Class 4A school, will need to get into gear a little quicker. With the Univeristy of Oregon hosting the Junior Nationals at Hayward Field, the whole season has been cut short a week.
“It will be a little bit of a challenge,” Bodfish said. “But, I think it’s one that we can handle. Everyone else will be dealing with the same problem. It all comes down to how we handle it.”we handle it.”
One of the tough decisions facing Bodfish will be who to run in the hurdle events. The Tigers will have four runners that can compete at a very high level.
Alora Brown, Lauren March and Cassie Brownell had the luxury of competing in the first meet in Pendleton. Any coach would be happy just to have those three, but Haley White will be ready for the Tigers’ next meet April 4 at the Don Walker Invite in Nyssa.
“I can only run three at the district meet,” Bodfish said. “That’s a little ways down the road. But, we have four girls who are going to be very competitive. It will be hard to know who to leave out. But, I guess I can’t complain.”
Brown, March and Brownell all placed in the top five in the opening meet of the season, with Brown winning the 100-meter hurdles.
There are a lot of girls with high hopes on the track.
Amanda Welch is second in the state after the first meet in the 1,500-meter run. Welch’s mark of 5 minutes, 14.5 seconds is only surpassed by Mollala’s Emily Bever, who ran a 4:48.
Erin Bodfish is in the Class 4A top 10 in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:45.
“It’s great to have those impressive marks to build from,” Bodfish said. “We really haven’t had a chance to start pushing the athletes in practice yet.”
The high expectations aren’t just reserved to the girls. Bodfish has seen equally good things from the boys side.
“This is going to be a fun year,” Bodfish said. “We have some great athletes. Some of them are catching us a little by surprise.”
Out of the gate, the La Grande boys have been impressive in both the track and the field side of things.
Shay Henderson, Noah McLean and JayJay Fogle have been getting things done on the track.
Henderson has shown off his speed, taking second in the 100- and 200-meter events in the opening meet. McLean finished third in the 200-meter dash.
Todd Keniry has the longer distances taken care of. He took second in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs in Pendleton. Teammate Elliot Jonasson took third in the 3,000-meter run.
Fogle took third in the high jump, clearing 5-feet, 8-inches.
“Those guys are kind of the foundation of the team,” Bodfish said. “It’s great to have a solid core of kids coming back.”
On the field, the marks should keep holding up for La Grande.
Caleb Woodworth put his mark on the javelin throw out of the gate. Woodworth owns the top mark in Class 4A after the opening meet. He opened the season with a toss of 167-6.
Bodfish was also impressed by the opening marks of Micah Fuller and Blaine Kreutz.
Fuller opened the season with a throw of 40-10 in the shot put.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Bodfish said. “That’s the first time he’s competed in the event. With a little more times, that number will keep climbing.”
Kreutz took second in the triple jump in Pendleton, and his mark of 40-2.5 has him third in the state.
“Hitting the 40-foot mark is really nice for the first time out this season,” Bodfish said. “Blaine is an amazing athlete, and it shows up in his events. The coaching staff has really high expectations for him.”
Kreutz also impressed in the opening meet by finishing third in the javelin with a toss of 156 feet.
With all the talent returning, Bodfish is still excited about her freshman class.
Matt Wisdom will help the team on the track, and Bodfish pointed out that he’ll be a big part of the long jump and triple jump selections.
On the girls side, Katie Chadwick and Heather Keniry will help out in a variety of events.
“We have some super freshman this year,” Bodfish said. “It will be exciting to see how they grow throughout the season. The level of competition is going to be higher than what they’re used to. But, I think they’ll all be able to handle it and do very well for us.
“They’re all wanting to get back out and see what they can do. They like to work hard.”