Dyami Rios runs the anchor of the 4 x 100 relay. (File)

After a disappointing 2018 season where they were only able to send one athlete to the state meet, the McNary track and field program hopes to bounce back in 2019 with a fairly young crew across the board — the Celtics have over 100 athletes that are either freshmen or sophomores

“We’re a really young team,” said head coach Frank Gauntz. “I hope we continue to retain those kids and just get better and better each year.”

Key Losses (girls):

Paige Downer- The only McNary athlete to qualify for state last season. Downer took second at the Greater Valley Conference District Meet in the pole vault .

Kailey Doutt- Took third at the district meet in the 800 meters and is currently running track at George Fox University.

Leah Doutt- Was one of the top Celtics sprinters as a freshman last season, but decided to focus on spring basketball in 2019.

Key Returners (Girls):

Ashlin Samples (sophomore): One of McNary’s most versatile athletes. Samples competed in the 100 meter hurdles, pole vault, long jump and 4x100 meter relay at the district meet last season.

Isabella Walker (sophomore): Was a top-10 finisher at districts in the 300-hurdles and high jump as a freshman. Also competed in the 4x100 and 4x400

Caitlyn Yates (junior): Was a top-five finisher in the 100m as districts. Also competed in long jump and triple jump events at the conference meets.

With the majority of his top girls athletes being underclassmen, Gauntz is excited to see his young crew continue to improve.

“We just want to keep getting growth from our young group,” Gauntz said.

Key Losses (Boys):

Casey Tovas- McNary’s top hurdler last season. Took fourth in the 100-hurdles at the district meet in 2018.

Tim Kiser- Placed fourth at districts in the discus last year.

Lucas Garvey- Had top-10 finishes in the 200m and 400m at the district meet in 2018.

Key Returners (Boys):

Dyami Rios (sophomore): Should be one of McNary’s top sprinters. Was on the 4 x 100 team that placed fourth at districts last season.

Bryan Hernandez (sophomore): Hernandez was McNary’s other high-level sprinter last season and is expected to improve in the 100m and 200m.

“We expect (Rios and Hernandez) to pick up right where they left off,” Gauntz said. “They are only going to get faster.”

McLean Schmidt (senior): McNary’s best returning hurdler. He had top-15 finishes at districts last year in the in the 100 and 300-hurdles.

With the addition of Bend, Mountain View and Summit to the conference, Gauntz knows that his team will be challenged from week to week. But McNary’s goals for the season aren’t about how many dual meets they win or how many kids they send to state. It’s all about building towards success for the future.

“I don’t really have expectations on how many kids we’ll take to state. I just want kids to be faster, jump higher and throw farther than they did at the beginning of the year,” Gauntz said.

“I want a lot of (personal records) at the conference meet.”

McNary sophomore Kennedy Buss runs the 800 meters in a meet from last season. (File)