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Douglas track starts Saturday

by Chuck Smock

Douglas High track and field coach Keith Cole will get his first look at his Tigers squad on Saturday in a three-way meet with Carson and South Tahoe at Carson High.

The Tigers will compete without defending state pole vault champion Chris Chappell, who will be jumping against the eight best high school vaulters in the nation at a meet in Indiana, and Gabe Hatchett, who qualified for the state meet in the 300 intermediate hurdles and 110 high hurdles last year as a sophomore, but hasn’t participated in enough practices to be eligible for the first meet.

Even without the points Chappell and Hatchett could have earned, Cole said he is expecting a strong showing from the Tigers in the first meet of the season.

“I think we’re going to have a shot at winning the meet,” the first-year coach said. “We have a very strong team. We have a lot of freshmen and underclassmen who I haven’t seen run, and I’ll be excited to see how they do in competition.

“If everyone goes out and gives 100 percent, I think we can win the meet. I really do.”

Cole said he’s looking for leadership and solid performances from seniors Josh Nussbaum and Jason Jarrett.

Nussbaum helped the Tigers’ 4×400 relay team qualify for the state meet last season. He has improved his times in the 110 and 300 hurdles, Cole said.

Freshman Drew Bateman is also a talented hurdler who could earn some team points on Saturday.

Jarrett, along with Chappell, gives Douglas two of the best pole vaulters in Northern Nevada – if not the state. Jarrett recently cleared a personal-best 13 feet, 9 inches at the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho.

“We’re looking for Jason Jarrett to step up,” Cole said. “He’s done exceptionally well in the offseason and we’re looking for big things from him.”

The coach also said Thurman Roberts uncorked an impressive discus toss in practice last Friday. Cole estimated the throw easily cleared the 130-foot mark.

Junior Jamie McCreary leads a talented group of young runners on the girls’ side at Douglas. McCreary is a threat in the 110 and 300 hurdles.

Sophomore Rebecca Pope and freshman Taryn Joyce-Mendive will give the Tigers the opportunity to pile up the points in the distance events.

Pope finished fifth overall at the Northern 4A Zone cross country meet last fall and crossed the line 12th at the state meet the following week. She ran in both the state cross country and track meets as a freshman.

Pope likely will run the 800 meters and the 1,600 meters Saturday.

Joyce-Mendive turned in a ninth-place finish at the zone cross country meet last fall and followed that performance with a 14th-place showing at the state meet.

Joyce-Mendive will also run two of the three distances events, which includes the 3,200 meters.

Cole said he and his assistant coaches will let the Douglas athletes decide which two or three events they want to compete in on Saturday. Beginning next week, the coaches will started making determinations about where each athlete can help the team most.

Among the question marks at Saturday meet will be how the Douglas relay team perform. Because of the poor conditions of the dirt track at the high school, the Tigers haven’t been able to work on handoffs.

“Every time it rains on that track, it sets us back,” Cole said. “You just can’t run on mud.”