West Linn track team and head coach put in extra work for new season

Running along West A street in the frigid fall, a few brave souls travel together as an act of defiance to mother nature. It turns out not even the harshest of conditions can keep members of this year’s track & field team from training vigorously in the off-season.

Feb. 27 marked the start of a new–and very wet–track season. Joe Cerny, track & field head coach, is feeling optimistic, even through the tough weather.

“This is lion weather,” he told his team before practice. “What do you think Oregon City and Lake Oswego are doing right now?”

Cerny expects everyone on the team to compete hard and do the best that they possibly can. Leah Henningsen, junior distance runner, said, “I love how the people on the track team are so encouraging.” She hopes to achieve better times in the 3,000 and 1,500 meter races.

“As long as everybody is working hard at practice, the team will succeed,” Cerny said. “I set the team goals high in order to help the members of the team achieve greater things during the season.” He hopes that the team can place well in the races and, ultimately, take as many people as possible to the State meet.”

The first meet was on Mar. 14 at Tualatin High School. Madison Leek, junior, earned first place in both the 100 and 400 meter sprints. Max Dimm, junior, took first in the 400 meter sprint as well. Tyler Griffin, junior, won in the 800 meter race. Dillon George, senior, and Rebecca Donnelly, junior, achieved first place in the 1500 meter race. Connor Cushman, junior, and Henningsen earned first in the 3000 meter race, with Donnelly and Hannah Carr, junior, following in second and third. Colby Gray, sophomore, took first in the 110 meter hurdles. The 4×100 meter girls relay team achieved first, as did the 4×400 boys relay team.

As for field events, Cam Keizur, senior, earned first in both shot put and discus. Drew Cribbs, junior, took first in javelin, and Maria Green, senior, won in the high jump.
Cerny can’t wait to see how the new players and freshman “rookies” will contribute to the team’s success. He hopes to see Leek, Cara Boucher, junior, Cushman and Keizur do exceptionally well again this season, but also said that it’s too early in the season to name new individuals he thinks will make an impact.

“Each year the team takes its own personality and is very unique,” Cerny said. He thinks that the team’s sense of work ethic and camaraderie is essential to its success.

“I’ve learned [from track in the past] that the best thing to do during a race is stick with your team. Find a certain team member to stick with through out the race,” Henningsen said.

Cerny, although not one to dwell in the past, also believes that the team did extremely well last year. He was proud to send a group of seven players to the State meet.

To prepare for the season, Cerny has attended coach’s clinics, taken the time to get the proper equipment ready and planned new workouts for his sprinters. The coaches aren’t the only one preparing, though. Many runners have been seen around West Linn training for the anticipated track season as well.

Some significant meets for the team are the Wilsonville Invite on Mar. 21 at Wilsonville High School, the Novice District meet Apr. 11 at Canby High School and the District meet Apr. 17 – 18 at Oregon City High School. The State meet will be held on Apr. 25.