Sherwood track squads look to shine this season

by: DAN BROOD - HIGH FLYER -- Sherwood junior Ben Milligan, shown here at last year's Class 5A state meet, is one of the key returnees for the Bowmen this season.SHERWOOD — Strength.

The Sherwood High School track and field teams look to have plenty of it going into the 2014 season.

The Bowmen appear to have strength in numbers, strength in leadership and strength in potential — leading to optimism for the Sherwood teams this season.

“We have a combination of returning strength and emerging young talent,” Sherwood coach Terrel Smith said. “The team leadership will be made up of 35 returning seniors, most of whom will be captains of various event groups. There will be about 75 returning sophomores and juniors, providing talent and depth to the team. Freshmen are always an unknown quantity, but, this year, we have incoming freshmen who will compete immediately at the varsity level.”

The Sherwood boys have a strong group of returnees from last year’s squad that finished second in the team standings at last year’s Northwest Oregon Conference district meet.

Among those key returnees is senior Hunter Pfefferkorn. Last year, Pfefferkorn finished in third place at the Class 5A state championships in the 400-meter run with a mark of 49.71 seconds. He and fellow senior returnee Cole Nixon were also part of the Bowmen 4 x 400 relay team that ran to a state championship last year.

“They’re provide a one-two punch in the 200 and 400,” Smith said.

Junior returnee Ben Milligan looks to be one of the state’s top high jumpers. Last year, he won the NWOC district title in that event before going on to place third at the state meet.

Senior Ryan Pierce, senior Olsen Cottle and junior Joshua Moats will lead the way for the Bowmen in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000.

“The distance team sports talented veterans and emerging young runners,” Smith said.

Senior Ryan Jurgens will lead a large group of Bowmen throwers.

Sherwood also looks to have a strong one-two punch in the triple jump in senior returnees Bailey States and Alex Castaneda, who placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in that event at last year’s district meet.

It all adds up to what could be a banner year for the Bowmen boys.

“The boys program will compete strong in all events and will look to finish at the top of the NWOC,” Smith said.

The Sherwood girls also have some key returnees back from last year’s squad that won the NWOC district meet title.

The Lady Bowmen look to be especially strong in the throwing events, where they’ll be led by senior captain Elyse Cuthbertson.

“The girls throwing group is very strong and will continue to score a lot of points for the team this year,” Smith said.

Last year, Cuthbertson won a district title in the discus and she placed second in the shot put. She went on to finish second in the discus and third in the shot put at the Class 5A state championships.

Her younger sister, sophomore Payge Cuthbertson, qualified for the state meet in the javelin last year after placing second in that event at the NWOC district meet.

Other key throwers for the Sherwood girls include senior Charity Doyle, junior Avery Pierce and senior Mackenzie Howell.

The Lady Bowmen have five of the top eight returnees in the conference in the discus.

“That is a show of strength,” Smith said.

Junior Madison Budge returns as one of the top distance runners in the NWOC.

Other key returnees for the Sherwood girls include junior Emily Johansen in the sprints, junior Rebecca Quaglio, who qualified for the state meet last year, in the hurdles, senior Emily Harris in the 200 and long jump and junior Mikala Otto in the long and triple jump. Otto qualified for the state meet in the long jump last year.

The Sherwood teams had some strong performances at a season-opening, seven-school meet they hosted on March 19.

For the Sherwood boys, Milligan, just four days after finishing play at the Class 5A state basketball tournament, took first place in the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 7 inches, which was the best in the state through the opening week of the season.

Pfefferkorn sprinted to victory in the 400 in a time of 50.83 and he ran to second place in the 100 at 11.47.

For the Sherwood girls, Elyse Cuthbertson was victorious in the shot put with a toss of 34-8. She also was second in the discus.

The Bowmen teams were slated to host St. Helens in a NWCO dual meet opener on Wednesday. Results of that meet weren’t available when The Times went to press.

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