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Wolves ready to get it all going


Tualatin has both key returnees and talented newcomers

by: DAN BROOD - STARTING STRONG -- Tualatin High School junior Matthew Lovos got his season off to a fast start, running to victory in the 1,500 in the Wolves' opening meet with Centennial. TUALATIN — Going into the 2014 season, the Tualatin High School track and field teams seem to feature a bit of everything.

The Timberwolves look to have loads of talented returnees, especially on the girls team, as well as some promising newcomers and a whole bunch of enthusiasm.

Tualatin is hoping that all adds up to an exciting, successful campaign.

“Each season brings along its surprises, which are always fun to watch develop,” Tualatin coach Paul Zitzelsberger said. “The personalities, competition and desire of the athletes make the sport of track and field truly exciting to watch.”

Among the many top returnees for the Tualatin girls is a defending state champion in senior Laura Taylor. Last year, Taylor captured the title in the pole vault competition at the Class 6A state meet, clearing a height of 11 feet, 9 inches to capture the gold.

The Wolves have another top returnee in the pole vault in senior Lauren Balsiger, who placed 10th in that event at the state meet last year. Junior Colette Peterson could also contribute in that event.

The Tualatin girls look to be deep in the sprints, where they have Taylor, junior Jasmine Gilmore, junior Aryana Harvey, sophomore Karina Moreland, freshman Jordan Anderson and sophomore Nicole LaTourette.

Gilmore is among the top returning sprinters for the Wolves, as she placed sixth in the 200-meter dash at last year’s Pacific Conference district meet.

Runners in that sprints group will also compete in both relay events.

Tualatin’s hurdles crew will be led by senior Kristi Workman, who placed sixth in the 300 low hurdles and seventh in the 100 high hurdles at last year’s district meet. Junior Mia de Haan, sophomore Morgan McMasters and sophomore Elizabeth Parker could also contribute in the hurdles.

In the distance running events, Tualatin will have freshman Kate Intile, sophomore Sarah Krill, sophomore Amanda Keen and sophomore Amanda Olson.

Moreland returns to lead Tualatin in the jumps. She won a district crown in the triple jump last year, with a mark of 36-0, and went on to place 10th in that event at the state meet. Sophomore Tegan Bracha is another key returnee for the Wolves in the jumps, while Balsiger and Taylor also may contribute there.

Tualatin boasts another key returnee in senior Jasmine Suyematsu, who will compete in the javelin. She placed third in that event at last year’s district meet with a throw of 117-6.

Sophomore Sofie Ortiz returns in the shot put and the discus events. Freshman Athena Erickson could also contribute in those events.

As for the battle for the top spot in the girls standings in the Pacific Conference this year, Zitzelsberger sees defending champion Tigard as the possible favorite again this year.

“Hillsboro returns most of its speed in the sprints and hurdles,” he added. “Newberg, McMinnville and Tualatin could challenge as well.”

The Tualatin boys team looks to also have some key returnees to build around, as well as having some promising newcomers.

Among the top returnees for the Wolves is junior Matthew Lovos, who will compete in the 1,500 and the 3,000.

Last year, Lovos won a district championship in the 3,000, where he had a winning time of 9 minutes, 5.83 seconds, while placing second in the 1,500. He went on to run to ninth place in 3,000 at the Class 6A state meet.

Tualatin has another returning district champ in senior Ryan Wisner. Last year, Wisner cleared 6-6 to take the top spot at the Pacific Conference meet. He went on to place fourth in that event at the state meet.

In the sprints, Tualatin will have senior Nick Hines, junior Zach Eberle, sophomore Grant Nielsen and senior Nique Reid. Hines was fifth in the 100 at last year’s district meet.

Sophomore Malachi Seib should be the Wolves’ top runner in the 400.

The sprinters should all also contribute in the relays.

Senior Robbie Ellis, who placed fifth in the 110 high hurdles at district last year, and junior Cole Gerke will lead the Tualatin hurdlers.

Joining Lovos in the distance events will be junior Billy Calder, senior Adam Mitchell, sophomore Mark French and sophomore Jason Stallkamp. Calder was fourth in the 800 at last year’s district meet.

Joining Wisner in the jumps will be junior Jordan Wilson and senior Nicholas Arellano.

Sophomore Grant Nielsen and senior Austin Balfour will lead the way in the shot put and discus. Wisner, senior Mark Toda and Arellano should contribute in the javelin.

As for the battle for the top spot in the Pacific Conference, Zitzelsberger sees some good competition ahead.

“McMinnville, Tigard and Newberg have the most returning athletes,” he said. “Tualatin has a lot of new faces that could put them in the picture by the end of the season.”

Tualatin was scheduled to open its conference dual meet schedule at Forest Grove on Wednesday. Results of that meet weren’t available when The Times went to press.

The Wolves will be back in action Friday when the compete at Laker Classic Invitational, which will be held at Lake Oswego High School.

Field events start at 3:30 p.m. with track events beginning at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, Tualatin will host rival Tigard in a Pacific Conference dual meet. Field events start at 3:45 p.m. and track events begin at 4:15 p.m.