The Lake Oswego girls track and field team earned itself a place among the state's best last year.
The Lakers battled to fourth place in the Three Rivers League, 13th place at state and may be even better in 2017 under first-year head coach Vince Kinney. Kinney, a former decathlete at Portland State University who coached high jump and pole vault at Southridge last year, takes over the head coaching position this year.
"It will be pretty tight among the top teams but I think we're really close," Kinney said. "If we perform the way we can, I think we'll be able to compete against Tigard, Tualatin and St. Mary's."
Granted, the Lakers will have to replace graduated hurdler Nehalem Kunkle-Read (she won the district title in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles and took third at state in that event, and also took second in the district high hurdles) and pole vaulter Victoria Edwards (she was second at district and won the Class 6A state title), but believe they are well-stocked to compete again.
This year's team will be led by sophomore sprinter Maddie DeBorde, junior distance runner Grace David, senior middle distance runner Gillian Mair, junior high jumper Madison Richardson, senior distance runner Dulcie Jones and senior middle-distance and distance runner Emily Van Orman.
DeBorde was the TRL champ in the 100 and runner-up in the 200 (she later took eighth at state in the 200), Mair was the district runner-up in the 800, Richardson took second in the TRL high jump and 10th at state, David placed third in the district 1,500 and fifth in the 3,000, Jones took seventh in the TRL 3,000 and 10th in the 1,500, and Orman was 13th in the district 3,000.
Along with freshman thrower Ava David, DeBorde is expected to lead Lake Oswego's point-scorers in 2017.
"Both of them will be big scorers for us," Kinney said.
The Lakers will also benefit, Kinney said, from the leadership of team captains Van Orman, senior sprinter Danielle Smith and senior middle- and long-distance runner Katy Howells.
"We have great leadership this year," Kinney said. "Van Orman works hard, … Howells shows great leadership at school, and Smith has been with the program all four years — they'll be our leaders."
Also expected to contribute this year are freshman hurdler Kate Diedrich, freshman high jumper Lindsay Drango and sophomore sprinter/400 runner Erica Chiang.
"If we find some freshmen hurdlers and they perform well, we can do some damage," Kinney said. "We also need a pole vaulter, but we're solid everywhere else now."
Kinney said that this year's TRL championship is up for grabs, but that he expected Tigard, Tualatin and St. Mary's to be most likely to end up on top.
To see the Lakeridge girls team preview, click here.
To see the West Linn girls team preview, click here.