Jackson boys taking aim at Wesco track title

  • Mike Cane<br>For the Enterprise
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:42am

The Jackson track team is ready to run, jump and throw its way from the middle of the pack to the top of the heap.

Last year injuries and illness prevented both the boys and girls squads from fulfilling their potential — the boys finished fourth in the Western Conference 4A South Division, the girls seventh — but this year, with key performers healthy and plenty of experienced athletes back, the Timberwolves could challenge the area’s elite.

“We could make a run at the district and conference title,” boys coach Eric Hruschka said.

Edmonds-Woodway, Everett and Kamiak are the teams to beat, he added.

Seniors Craig Chambers and Brandon Myers spearhead the boys squad. “They’re both excellent athletes,” Hruschka said. “It’ll be a good mix.”

Chambers, headed to the University of Washington next fall on a football scholarship, injured his ankle last spring. He was sidelined for most of the track season. However, Chambers is coming off an impressive, injury-free basketball season and is ready to explode out of the blocks. He will run the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints plus relays.

Myers, a state qualifier last year, is the Wesco’s top-ranked triple jumper and high jumper. He triple-jumped 44 feet, four inches last year and topped out with a remarkable 6-6 high jump. Myers, who stands just 5-foot-8, had never highjumped before last year.

“He ended up picking it up pretty quickly,” Hruschka said.

Distance runner Caleb Knox, a junior, will also contribute. As a freshman Knox was the two-mile district champ. “(Caleb) is starting to mature,” Hruschka said. “He’s getting more foot speed.” Knox ran a 4 minute, 24 second mile last year to finish 10th at state.

“He’s one of the top returning distance runners in the state,” Hruschka added. “He’s very competitive.”

Senior Richy Mulcahy set Jackson’s shot put record last year (50-2) and has the skills to compete with the best. “(Mulcahy) should be one of the top qualifiers for state this year,” Hruschka said.

After proving his talent by finishing as the top freshman in the state cross-country meet last fall, Jeff Helmer can contribute right away, Hruschka said. So can freshman speedster Chris Jackson: “He’s a dynamite sprinter.”

Girls coach Steve Till believes a mix of young and seasoned athletes makes his year’s Jackson squad the best he’s worked with in four years.

“We definitely should do better than last year,” Till said. “We have more returners (compared to past teams) and we have a talented freshman class that should help us compete pretty well.”

Till said it’s too early in the season to judge the competition, but he’s thrilled about Jackson’s potential.

Cat Baller leads Jackson’s pack of experienced seniors. Baller, who suffered from mononucleosis last spring, has come close to qualifying for the state meet.

“(Baller) does extremely well in the shot put,” Till said.

She also competes in the 800- and 400-runs. “(Baller has) got the athleticism to go to state,” Till said. “She’ll be upset if she doesn’t.”

Senior Sheri Thom is another Jackson standout. Thom, a sprinter, set Jackson’s 200-dash record as a sophomore with a 26.6 second dash.

“(Thom) is definitely one of our top sprinters,” Till said. “Her heart’s in it. She’s giving a good effort.”

Thom runs the 100 as well as the sprint relays.

Michelle Body, another senior, has worked hard, Till said, and will help Jackson in the 400 run, as well as the 1,600 relay.

Senior Kristin Finrow holds Jackson’s triple jump record (32-7).

“(Finrow) is good in the high (jump) and long jump too,” Till said. “She does great stuff for us.”

In addition, senior Syrina Remillard is a strong returning distance runner, Till added.

Jackson also boasts some exciting newcomers. Freshman Allison Graham won the mile run at the Whidbey Island Jamboree Feb. 20.

“(Graham) is an extremely talented runner,” Till said. “She’ll probably specialize in the mile and two-mile.”

Fellow frosh Dani Oster excels in the short distances. Oster, who runs the 400 and anchored Jackson’s all-freshman 1,600 relay at the Whidbey Island Jamboree, is one to watch.

“(Oster) is a real talented sprinter,” Till said.

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