Led by a nucleus of talented returnees, the Douglas High track and field squad will kick off its spring season Saturday with a four-way conference meet at home.
Damonte Ranch, Galena and Wooster are scheduled to join the Tigers for a meet that begins at 9 a.m. at the Big George Sports Complex.
Jim Abbott returns as head coach for the boys team, as does Kim Tretton for the girls team. The Douglas girls finished 10th as a team and the boys 21st at last year’s state meet.
“I think this looks to be a good season for the program,” Abbott said.
Among the top veterans returning are 2013 state meet qualifiers Marshall McKown in the throws, distance runner Lindsey Adams and sprinter/jumper Olivia Abbott.
McKown is the defending region boys discus champion. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior threw his personal best of 161-1 at the region meet — not far off the school record of 168-9 set by Joel Sharpe in 1993 — and then placed sixth at state. McKown also set a school record of 53-2-1/4 in the shot put, an event in which he placed third at the region meet and sixth at state.
Adams, a junior who already ranks as one of the school’s all-time best distance runners, returns as the defending region champion in the girls 800 and 1,600. Her best times are 2:19.60 in the 800 and 5:16.65 in the 1,600. She is also a two-time region individual champion in cross country.
Olivia Abbott, another junior, placed second in the girls 400 and third in the triple jump at last year’s region meet. She ran a season best of 58.40 in the 400 to place fifth at state and placed third in the region meet triple jump with a personal best mark of 36-0-1/2.
Lizzy Byrne, Adams, Oliva and Aspen Abbott (now running at Southern Oregon) ran a season best 4:01.64 to place fourth at the state meet last year.
Another returning senior thrower is Colton Waggoner, who placed third in the discus at last year’s region meet then came back to log a season-best 149-7 for sixth-place at the state meet (a personal record by 8 feet). He also had a best of 41-11 in the shot put last season.
Morgan Weston placed third in the girls discus at the region meet. She threw a season best of 113-9 at the Carson Invitational. Her mark of 32-11-1/2 in the shot put was good for fifth-place at the region meet.
Bailey Vidaurri (22.94 in the 200 meters, 53.41 in the 400), Koby Hinnant (11.66 in the 100, 23.24 in the 200) and Brandon Harmon (11.64 and 24.26) are key returnees in the sprints for the Douglas boys.
Another team strength will be a group of distance runners that includes Austin Croxall and Moriah Munyan, both top-10 finishers at the region cross country championships in November.
Saturday’s four-way meet is one of two the Tigers are hosting this season. The other is the Big George Invitational on May 3.
The Tigers also feature a number of promising young athletes who are expected to contribute this season and beyond.
“I have seen several talented freshmen on both the boys and girls teams that could develop into varsity athletes,” Abbott said. “I think you’re going to see them score points for us later in the season at our big invitational and regional meets.”
“I have seen several talented freshmen on both the boys and girls teams that could develop into varsity athletes.”
Douglas boys coach