The Timberwolves are talented.
They're experienced. They're proven.
And they're motivated.
The Tualatin High School boys track and field team is ready to make plenty of noise this season, as it gets ready for Three Rivers League competition and beyond.
"The boys are really hungry," Tualatin coach Hashim Hall said. "We want to do what we do best."
The Tualatin boys return a strong group of returnees from last year's squad that finished in third place in the team standings at the Three Rivers League district championships.
"We return some state placers," Hall said.
One of those returnees is a defending Class 6A state champion in senior Nano Kis. Last year, Kis won the state title in the discus event with a throw of 164 feet, 8 inches. He'll give the Wolves strength in both the discus and shot put this year.
Senior Nick Sarka also returns in those events. Last year, Sarka took ninth place in the discus competition at the state meet with a mark of 140-8. Tualatin returns another key competitor in the throws in senior Jalen Hale. Last year, Hale took fifth place in the javelin event at the state meet. He also is the defending Three Rivers League district champion in the javelin.
The Tualatin boys also look to be strong in the sprints, where they return senior Kwabena Lynn. Last year, Lynn won the TRL district title in the 100-meter dash. He went on to place fifth in the 100 at the state meet with a time of 10.87 seconds. He also was eighth in the 200 at state last year.
Tualatin also returns its entire 4 x 100 relay team of Lynn, senior Dominique Loggins, junior Luke Marion and junior Kainoa Sayre, which took fifth place at last year's state meet.
Marion and Hale should also be strong in the hurdles events.
In the distance races, Tualatin returns another district champion in junior Andrew Payton, who triumphed in the 1,500 at last year's TRL meet. Payton went on to take sixth place in the 1,500 at the Class 6A state meet with a mark of 3:59.83.
"He's looking really strong," Hall said.
Junior Sam Katsuda leads the Wolves' pole vaulters. In the jumps, Tualatin should be deep.
"We've got a whole bunch of guys competing," Hall said.
The Tualatin girls squad graduated some key competitors from last year's squad that won the Three Rivers League district team title, but the Wolves still should be strong.
"The girls want to repeat," Hall said. "And we've got some good numbers."
Tualatin has a strong group of sprinters, led by senior returnee Gennavieve Marion. Last year, Marion took third place in the 400 at district, and went on to place 10th in that event at the Class 6A state meet.
"She's really doing well," Hall said.
Marion should help the Tualatin girls in the relays, which have been traditionally strong events for the Wolves.
"Our relay teams will be pushing to get to state," Hall said.
Tualatin also has a strong distance crew, led by junior Kaitlyn Gearin. Last year, Gearin took second place in the 3,000 at district and went on to run to 10th at state. Freshman Olivia Seits is another key distance runner. Another state returnee in the 3,000, junior Hannah Olson, is dealing with an injury right now.
Tualatin should be strong in the high jump, where sophomore Ellie Hammond, senior Sydney Oleson, junior Savannah Taft and junior Corona Parker all return. Hammond took 12th place in the high jump at last year's state meet.
"We've got four who could go 5-1 or better," Hall said.
The Tualatin teams are now getting ready for what should be a competitive Three Rivers League season.
"It's tough," Hall said of the TRL. "There are a lot of good teams in the league."
Tualatin will open its league dual meet schedule on April 3, when it faces Lake Oswego in a meet set to start at 4 p.m. at Lake Oswego High School.
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