JOSEPH BOYS POISED TO CONTEND FOR LEAGUE TITLE
The Joseph Eagles have already made the point that they will contend for the Wapiti League boys track and field title this year.
By winning their home meet Saturday convincingly the Eagles served notice that they have the individuals to pile on the points.
Senior Marcus Wells is already one of the fastest in the region in the 400 meters and leads the area in the javelin. Sophomore Cole Lathrop has had strong showings in both the 110 and 300 hurdles as well as a 6-foot-3 mark in the high jump.
A strong addition to the team, however, has been freshman Mike Marks, who won the shot put and discus at the Jo-Hi Invitational Saturday and has the area best in the triple jump.
Then there's junior Eric Butterfield, who set the school record of 12 feet, 9 inches in the pole vault at Jo-Hi. He's joined in that event by sophomore Randall Eschler.
It bodes well for the Eagles to move up from their fifth-place team finish at state last year. Wells was second in the javelin and third in the 400 at state, and senior Cody Lathrop, a district champion in the 3,000, was 10th in that event.
The Joseph girls have been boosted early in the season by sophomore sprinter Denae Micka, hurdler Jenae Gould and sophomore middle distance runner Tiffany Zimmer.
Brody Turner seems primed to repeat as a state 400 and 800 champion and lead the Powder Valley Badgers to another state title, their Class 1A record sixth.
Turner is already the fastest in the area in the 400 and 800 and among the fastest in the 200. The senior has five individual state titles, not counting relays.
Powder Valley doesn't have the massive depth it had last year when it won its fifth-straight state title by outscoring second-place St. Paul 131-59. But the Badgers have strong competitors in senior hurdler Ryan Browne and senior sprinter Riley Martin.
Adding to the numbers are sophomore throwers Todd Baxter and Deven Thompson.
The Badger girls, third at state last year, could move up a notch or two this season.
Senior hurdler Amanda Bingham is off to a fast start, having set the school record of 46.45 in the 300 low hurdles last week at the Pasco Invitational. Bingham, who won the 300 hurdles at state last year, is also among the best in the area in the long jump.
Junior Jenny Dayhoff didn't score any points at state in the throws last year but she's already improved in the shot put, javelin and discus this year.
Senior Amie Russell will score points this season in the 300 hurdles and high jump, as will sophomore sprinter Joelle Bain and sophomore high jumper Shauna Nelson.
Enterprise junior Maya Waldron has already matched her state meet mark of 5-2 in the high jump, in which she finished third at last year's Class 2A state meet.
For the boys, junior Tim Gilbert is already one of the area's best in the javelin.
The girls also feature distance runners Nicole Anderson, a freshman, and senior Keely Hopkins, junior jumper Ashley Kassahn and sophomore thrower Jacinda Mitchell. All of them scored at Jo-Hi.
Other boys competing this season are freshman jumper and hurdler Tony Swart; distance runners freshman Michael Swart and junior Austin Himes; junior sprinter and jumper Willie Grover; sophomore middle distance runner Chris Lozier; sophomore jumper Kyle Bollman; throwers freshman Craig Swart, freshman Brinn Jones and sophomore Clay Freels; and junior sprinter Isaac Gerner.
The Cougar boys are already getting points from sophomore Randy Spaur, who won the long jump at Jo-Hi; Christian Zieglar, who was second in the discus; and sophomore Nick Johnson, who was second in the 3,000.
Spaur, the defending district champion in the long jump, is also competing in the high jump and triple jump.
The Cougars are also counting on Dustin Byers in the hurdles and Brandon Casper in the distances, as well as Drew Mahon and Pat Silveira in the throws.
Amanda Wilson and Larae Guillory lead the girls team, with Wilson a strong contender in the 400 and Guillory in distances.
Sisters Mysha and Lynique Oveson are also competing for the Cougars in a variety of events. Tasha Schacher was second in the long jump and scored in the 3,000 and triple jump at Jo-Hi. Wendy Spaur scored in the 1,500 and long jump and Shelane Lee scored in the shot put.
Junior Sarah Bomberger and sophomore Ashley Sharratt lead the Bobcat girls this season.
Bomberger is one of the area's best throwers, having won the shot put and discus at the La Grande Invitational. Sharratt was second in the triple jump and 3,000 at Jo-Hi.
Amber Colter has also scored in the hurdles and Liz Gruis has scored in the throws.
The boys are young, but Derek Kirby is already one of the top shot putters in the area after taking second at Jo-Hi.
Overviews of other area track and field teams ran previously.