After more than a month of practice, the Redmond High track team is ready to show what it can do.
The Panthers are scheduled to take play host a meet at 3 p.m. Wednesday against Crook County, Madras and Summit. It will be their first all-event meet.
They compete again Saturday at the Sandy Invitational.
The Panthers have some strong performers returning from their 2018 team, most notably Erin Wanamaker, who finished seventh in the long jump at the Class 5A state meet as a freshman. Only one athlete who finished ahead of Wanamaker’s leap of 15 feet, 10.25 inches is back in 5A this season, Katie Kennedy of new Intermountain Conference rival Hood River Valley.
While Wanamaker finished fifth in the long jump in her first event of 2019, she won the discus at the March 21 Crook County Relays with a throw of 113 feet, 10 inches.
That meet was primarily relays, field and throwing events, with the 1,500 meters the only individual race. The Panthers finished fifth of nine teams in girls competition and sixth in boys.
“We actually performed much better than we thought we would,” Redmond coach Tim Conley said. “We had multiple lifetime bests, it was a pretty darn good day.”
Other high-placing girls included Ellie Corwin, who was second in shot put and javelin, and Maya Johnson, who was third in triple jump. For the Redmond boys, Dylan Moss was second in shot put, Gage Garner was fifth in discus and the 4x100 relay team of Justin Kettle, Anthony Spinelli, Carter Chase and Ayden Nicklos was also fifth.
Corwin, a junior, was pleased with her finishes in Prineville, both school records.
“I’m feeling good, I’m really excited for the season,” she said at a practice over spring break last week. “I think we’re really building on the basics, it feels good so far.”
Corwin has a goal to get personal records each meet.
“If I do that, it means I’m consistent,” she said.
Spinelli finished fifth at the 2018 district meet in pole vault as a junior, while Stephen Saucedo was fifth in the long jump as a sophomore and Jaden Robertson was sixth in the high jump as a freshman.
While the boys team has around 35 athletes, compared to 20 girls, the sides are more even competitively than they have been in the past. In 2016, the boys team finished third at the state meet, while the girls didn’t score any points.
“We have a lot of young kids who are going to score a lot of points,” Conley said. “I’d say they’re pretty evenly matched now.”
While the girls are young, they are not newcomers to track, said senior Carly Hall, who competes in long jump, triple jump and the 100 and 200 meters.
“They’re going to be improving,” she said. “They’re not like a new freshman team. They did it in middle school, which is helpful because they know what they’re doing.”
The meets this week will be the first of the season for Redmond’s individual sprinters and middle-distance runners. Conley looks forward to it because, so far, he has little data to look at.
“If they keep the work ethic up they started out with, they’ll be just fine,” he said.
One big difference this year will be the lack of Summit, Bend and Mountain View, which finished 1-2-3 in both the boys and girls district meets last year. On the girls side, those teams went on to take three of the top four spots at state.
This year, the Panthers are capable of placing in every event at the May 17-18 district meet in Prineville, Conley said.
“It will definitely be a little easier, but there are several tough teams in our league,” Conley said. “Crook County is always one of the top teams in 4A, Hood River Valley was first in state when we were third. It’s a competitive league, but I don’t think there’s anybody that’s way out there that we don’t have a chance against”
Most of the Panthers only had a few days of outdoor practice before the relay meet in Prineville. Because of snow covering the track, throwers spent a lot of time in the weight room, before they eventually were able to throw the shot put into the snow, then digging it out.
Runners took advantage of the high school’s long hallways. “As a result, we developed shin splints, because that’s brutal on your shins,” Conley said. “So we’re glad to be out here.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org