Centennial appears primed for a run at state
The Mount Hood Conference remains a force in 6A track and field, crowning champions in three events at last year's state meet and coming in second in four others. The league as a whole piled up more than 133 points last year, and its two top point-getters Centennial hurdler Maddie McHone (21 points) and Gresham sprinter Fechi Nmreole (19 points) return this spring.
And to make the Mount Hood even more of a force, Sandy is back in the mix. The last time the Pioneers were in the MHC was 2006, which they celebrated with a state title.
With the renovation of Hayward Field, the state meet is being held at Mt. Hood Community College in May.
"A track is still a track, and you still have to get over the same number of hurdles," Centennial coach Luke Franzke said. "But it's nice to be able to sleep in your own bed for the meet, and that's something that might make a difference."
Following are previews of the five East County schools ...
McHone was runner-up in both hurdle races at state last season after being untouchable over the course of the league schedule. A three-sport athlete, McHone has signed to join the track team at Oregon State next season.
"She is solid all the way through," Centennial coach Luke Franzke said. "She starts in a rhythm and attacks all of the hurdles. She can trust that endurance in the intermediates."
McHone also finished fourth at state in the high jump — one bar of the lead pack.
The Eagles are loaded in the throws with junior Angel Aluesi returning as district champ in the shot put by three feet. She was a shoe print away from doubling up in the discus.
"She has been patient in learning the technique in the throws, and she really gets after it in the weight room," Franzke said.
Shift over to the javelin, and you don't only have to worry about Aluesi, but also Christina Rodriguez and Jaqiah Campbell — the teammates pulled off a rare 1-2-3 district sweep last season.
"It's fun when it happens, and it's a credit to their work ethic," Franzke said. "They take their practice time seriously, and they get their reps in."
The Eagles are also a threat to sweep the pole vault, which is what twins Savannah and Sierra Schultz did last year with Savannah going onto to place second at state in the event.
"They work on a lot of CrossFit-type activities with our vaulters to build their speed and agility," Franzke said.
Junior Enajah Glass is a scoring threat in the horizontal jumps, helping Centennial cover all seven field events.
"With consistent training, ultimately the ball is in their court, and the sky is the limit for this group," Franzke said.
The Bruins put three athletes onto the district podium in the discus last year and two of them, Libby Mathis and Lisa Martin, are back this season.
Another threat in the field is sophomore Reanna Maroon in the pole vault.
"They don't have that in middle school, so she spent her whole rookie season getting the technique down and learning a new skill set," Barlow coach Scott Jones said. "She is one of those athletes with no fear."
Maroon is also a scoring threat in the horizontal jumps, while sophomore Faith Flury won the triple jump at last year's novice meet.
Janessa Teachout paces the distance crew after coming in fourth in the 1,500 last year.
"There are a select group of runners, who can flip that switch, and they just want to win," Jones said. "She has that competitive spirit."
Basketball standout Emory Miller leads the charge in the hurdles, while junior Chenzira Fantroy is out for her first high school season after being one of the top talents coming out of Gordon Russell Middle School three years ago.
DAVID DOUGLAS SCOTS
The Scots are looking for big points out of senior distance runner Mariam Rozendahl, who is the top returner in the 3,000 and also found a spot on the district podium in the 1,500.
"She is super committed," David Douglas coach Isaac Frederick said. "For her it's a lifestyle. You don't have to tell her to go run, she's just going to do it."
Junior Marchaline Dweh adds a scoring threat across the sprints, turning in the second-fastest time of her career in the 100 during an early-season dual with Canby.
"She has trained consistently over the winter and has put in work in the weight room to improve her acceleration," Frederick said.
Sophomore Angelica Gatica Gomez gives the Scots a first-place threat in the middle distances, as well. She was fifth at district in the 400 and anchored the Scots' long relay last year. She expanded her range with a series of 800 races during the indoor season.
Senior sprinter Fechi Nmreole is the motor of this year's team after winning the 100-meter dash at state last year and also finding the podium in the 200 and long jump.
Senior Destiny Ogbeama is another big-meet scoring threat in the high jump.
Nmreole, Ogbeama and Emmonee Flanagan return as three-fourths of the Gophers' short relay that qualified for state.
Junior distance runner Kaitlyn Kruse is coming off a stellar cross country season and should be in the mix in the 1,500 and 3,000 races, while sophomore Natalie Dickson looks to be a threat in the sprints.
In the field, sophomore Brooke Levitt (javelin) and Diana Pyrchyna (triple jump) each placed third at last year's novice meet.
INSIDE THE #S
Dual-meet event wins for Centennial's Maddie McHone, who was unbeaten in the hurdles. She is the top returning scorer in the MHC.
Dual meets that were decided by 10 points or less last season, leaving Central Catholic, Clackamas and Centennial tied for first place in the regular season.
Seconds that separated the top five teams in the 400-meter relay at last year's district meet.
2019 LEAGUE SCHEDULE
TUESDAY, APRIL 9
Gresham @ C. Catholic (Fernhill)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10
Centennial, Reynolds @ Clackamas
Sandy, Barlow @ David Douglas
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17
Barlow @ Reynolds
David Douglas, Clackamas @ Gresham
Sandy, C. Catholic @ Centennial
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24
Centennial @ David Douglas
Clackamas, Barlow @ C. Catholic (Fernhill)
THURSDAY, APRIL 25
Reynolds, Gresham @ Sandy
TUESDAY, APRIL 30
C. Catholic, D. Douglas @ Reynolds
Sandy @ Clackamas
TUESDAY, MAY 7
Barlow, Centennial @ Gresham
TUESDAY, MAY 14
Day 1 MHC District @ Sandy
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15
Day 2 MHC District @ Sandy
FRIDAY, MAY 23
Day 1 state meet @ Mt. Hood CC
SATURDAY, MAY 24
Day 2 state meet @ Mt. Hood CC