By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

With nearly as many freshmen as upperclassmen, McNary’s track team is young.

But the seniors that do return come highly motivated, determined to make their final season their best.

After finishing second in the Greater Valley Conference in the 800-meter run as a freshman and then again as a sophomore, Kailey Doutt wasn’t able to participate in the event last season due to a stress fracture in her foot.

Doutt has since learned she has a B12, iron and folate deficiency. She’s taking a number of vitamins, ran less during basketball and took a week off between seasons.

Along with getting back to the state meet, Doutt has set her sights on breaking the school record in the 800. At 2:17.99, which she ran at the 2016 state championships, Doutt is half a second off the record.

Victor Zavalal threw a PR of 151-7 in the javelin in just McNary’s second meet last season but dealt with elbow pain down the stretch and finished fourth in the GVC.

“I was a little bit aggravated at that moment but I knew I had one more year and I’ve got to really focus this year and get into it,” Zavalal said. “It motivated me at the same time. My goal is to go to state. It’s my time.”

Working with throws coach George Krause, Zavalal hopes improved technique will get him there.

“Every year I learn something new,” Zavalal said. “This year I learned to make sure I’m rotating my shoulder all of the way instead of side arming it.”

Casey Toavs advanced to Day 2 of the GVC Championships in the 110-meter hurdles for the first time last season, finishing seventh with a PR of 16.93.

He believes the extra work he put in during winter conditioning will take him to another level.

“I’ve been able to three step a couple of the hurdles in previous years but my goal is to get through the whole flight of hurdles three stepping and I think that winter conditioning will definitely help with that,” said Toavs, who wants to finish under 16 seconds in the 110 hurdles this season.

“I think that’s a very doable goal for me this year as long as I keep pushing myself and getting through these workouts,” Toavs said. “With it being my senior year, I’m going to leave it all out on the track and have fun with it. I’m expecting it to be a fun year, not just for me, but for everyone on the team.”

Lucas Garvey is another senior but this season will be only his second in track. He finished sixth in the 400 and high jump at the GVC Championships last season.

“Your second year is just totally different than your first so we’re hoping for good things out of him,” McNary head track coach Frank Gauntz said.

The same could be said of Jose Solorio, who had the fastest time in the 100 during McNary’s inter-squad meet on March 20, crossing the line in 11.79. Garvey finished second in 11.81 and Dyami Rios placed third in 11.92.

Rios, who along with Ethan Martin, Gabriel Martinez and Emanuel Figueroa won the 4×100 relay middle school state championship for Claggett Creek last spring, leads a talented group of freshmen.

Of the 130 students on the track team, 60 are freshmen.

“It’s just a matter of seeing where they are at when they compete,” Gauntz said. “You don’t really see many freshman guys come on the scene and just flat out dominate. You see more of the girls. We have a good core of freshmen kids that are going to get faster and that are fast for freshmen.”

McNary has just 35 girls on the track team.

Freshman Leah Doutt ran the fastest time in both the 100 and 300, finishing in 13.59 and 45.38. She just beat another freshman, Isabella Walker, who took second in 45.65.

Freshmen Kennedy Buss and Ella Repp had the second and third fastest times in the girls 800, crossing the line in 2:32.66 and 2:38.33, respectively.

Caitlyn Kiefiuk Yates, who finished sixth at the GVC Championships in the 100 hurdles in 16.87 as a freshman last season, returns and could also help McNary in the triple jump.

McNary’s first track meet is Wednesday, April 4 at Forest Grove. The Celtics are then participating in the Titan Track Classic at West Salem High School on Friday, April 6.

“I’m just looking for a lot of growth this year,” Gauntz said. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to compete as a team at the conference meet but we’re going to try.”