Kennedy track team set for encore performance
Trojans return three girls from squad that placed second at 2A state track and field championships
Things are looking bright at John F. Kennedy High School as the spring track and field season opened this week.
The Trojans were scheduled to travel south to Jefferson High School Tuesday to kick off the 2014 season, fresh off of sending six athletes to the OSAA 2A State Track and Field Championships last year.
Four of those athletes return to the team this season, three of them are from the girls team that placed second at state, and one of them is Loghan Sprauer – the defending state champion in both the high jump and 200 meters.
Sprauer leads a Kennedy team that is packed with talent, and the multi-skilled athlete is set to pick up where she left off after qualifying for state in four events and setting the 2A state meet record in the high jump by clearing 5-foot-6.
She had a really good season and she was pretty confident going into state, said Kennedy track coach Steve Ritchie. Her competitive juices just kind of took over at state in the high jump and she was just kind of going out of her mind there.
Despite enjoying such a successful sophomore campaign, Sprauer has room for improvement, particularly in the running events, said Ritchie.
She can improve her time and she can get better at coming out of the blocks and running the first part of the race better, he said. Its there for her. If she wants to work, she can have as good or better of a year than last year.
In addition to her two state titles, Sprauer also took second in the 400 and joined sister Madison Sprauer, Laura Meyer and Lauren Stokley on Kennedys 4x400 relay team that placed ninth at state last year.
Meyer graduated, but Madison Sprauer and Stokley return for another season, seeking a trip back to Eugene in May.
Hopefully theyll have good seasons and make it back to state in multiple events this year, said Ritchie. Thats our goal.
Madison Sprauer, a senior, specializes in the hurdles, where she placed third in the 100 and eighth in the 300 at state last year. She also was fourth in the pole vault, giving the Trojans crucial points in the field events where the team isnt nearly as deep as it is on the track.
Stokley gives the team a strong presence in the distance events after placing fifth at state in the 1,500 and fourth in the 3,000. Stokley has already had a strong junior year, placing first at the district cross country championships and 17th overall at the 3A/2A/1A state championships in November.
Ritchie also points to junior Amelia Grosjacques as a potential contender for the state championships in the hurdles and javelin. Grosjacques placed second in the 100 hurdles as a freshman, but her attempt at a second straight trip to Eugene was derailed toward the end of last season due to a knee injury that kept her from competing in the district qualifiers.
So far shes looking really good, so shes another really important one for us, said Ritchie.
The junior also topped the 100-foot mark in the javelin last year, adding to the Trojans stable of throwers that includes Sidney Pulse, Arley Nunez and Claudia Rodriguez.
Any one of those girls could go to state in the discus, said Ritchie. Thatll be important for us to try and get some points out of the throws this year.
The boys team, while not as deep as the girls, still features a number of strong athletes.
Daniel Glaede returns for his senior season after placing third at state in the javelin, and he looms as a threat to advance to state in both the shot put and discus as well. Sophomore Jacob Lopez could join Glaede at state with a bump in his personal record throw of 126-6 in the javelin as a freshman
Senior John Savage and junior Adrian Parra give the team experience in the distance events after just missing out on a state berth last year. Theyll be joined by freshman runner Noe Jines to give Kennedy a strong stable of athletes in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000.
Freshman Bishop Mitchell could prove to be a wildcard as an athlete in both the track and the field.
Hes a great kid and a really good jumper as well as sprinter, said Ritchie. Its a lot tougher for a freshman boy than it is for a freshman girl, but Bishop is one to keep an eye on as well.
As an eighth-grader, Mitchell set personal records of 19-1.50 in the long jump and 5-10 in the high jump, results that would have placed him third in each event against high school athletes at the Tri-River District Championships last year.
Ritchie also eyed senior Sergio Reyes as an athlete who could impress in his lone season with the team.
(He) hasnt done track before, but he is really a fantastic sprinter and long jumper, said Ritchie. He looked really good the first week of practice, and then he kind of dinged up his hamstring and had to take it easy the last week of practice.