TIGER TRACK TEAM SETS BAR HIGH
By Raenelle Kwock
Observer Staff Writer
The La Grande track team generates positive vibes.
Coach Duane Smiley has high expectations for the girls and boys squads.
Around 50 athletes are participating this season.
The Tigers' next meet is the Pendleton Invite April 2.
Senior sprinters Amanda Timm and Kylee Winkler return.
Junior sprinter Crystal Kevan also returns.
Senior distance runner Jessica Fulfer is back.
Other key returners are senior pole vaulter Breezy Fredrickson, shot putter Amber Rasmussen, javelin thrower LeeAnna Moore, freshman relay runner Calli Timm, freshman sprinter Cora Beach and freshman Kirsten Johnson. Johnson placed eighth at state in cross country.
He said Jackie Wiseman is a "big addition" to the team. The junior transferred to La Grande after the fall. Wiseman competed in the state cross country championship in Snohomish, Wash.
Amanda Timm will also high jump. Sister Calli is also jumping.
Smiley said the girls need scoring depth.
"We have good top people that will place high," he said. "We need people placing 3-4-6-8 at district (to) pick up some points."
"We're right with the best of them," Smiley said, referring to the Greater Oregon League teams.
Senior sprinter Kyle Puckett is a "real outstanding athlete," Smiley said.
Junior Rick Anderson is sprinting, triple jumping and high jumping.
Smiley said Anderson can be a contender in the jumps.
Joe Hibbert is pole vaulting.
The distance runners are strong, Smiley said.
Dane Johnson, Leif Bullock and Travis Dixon are the core of the distance team, he said.
"Those three are really tough," he said.
Dane Johnson was second at state in cross country.
Dixon took third place after barely beating Bullock at district.
Bullock placed in the top 50 at state in cross country.
Senior Matt Hibbert is throwing the javelin. Junior Jeff McClay is shot putting.
Sophomore Kelley Burgess is sprinting and running relays.
Freshman Nathan Humphreys is sprinting, high jumping and long jumping.
Jason Karrels is long jumping and triple jumping.
Kevin Bomberger is high jumping.
Smiley said the boys have a little more depth than the girls.
Smiley is assisted by Amos Lee, Katlin Lafferty, Joe Brogdon and Larry Nice.