Last Saturday’s Icebreaker meet hosted at Maxwell Field proved the Wildcats are ready for a season in which they will defend championship titles and test new talent.
In the non-scoring meet, schools came and participated from as far away as Canada. This marked the start of the outdoor track season.
The team will compete in its first official Northwest Conference meet March 7 at Warner Pacific College in Portland.
Junior sprinter Mat Strum placed first in the 400-meter dash at 48.96 seconds and third in the 200 at 23.07 seconds. Strum said the icebreaker was good for him to get back into the pace of an outdoor meet.
Although currently suffering from hamstring pain, Strum will compete this week in the 200 and 400 dashes and the 4X400 relay.
Strum feels two of the strongest competitors on the men’s team this season are sophomore decathletes Joshua and Jeremy Lovell.
“They can do anything and everything, and they do it well,” Strum said.
The twins were trained to compete in the decathlon last year and will continue in the event this season.
At the icebreaker, the brothers excelled among older and more experienced competition.
Jeremy placed first in the men’s long jump with 7.41 meters, and Joshua dominated in the high jump with a 2 meter distance.
“(Competing together) has a big positive effect,” Joshua said. “We are at about the same ability level, and we strive to beat each other.”
Joshua said this year there aren’t many new faces among the decathlon competitors, and he is eager to see how the group has improved since last season.
Both Jeremy and Joshua said they have high standards this season after competing at the national level last spring.
Senior Shawn Pollard also had a great start at the meet, placing first with a time of 32:17 in the 10,000-meter run.
Superstar senior Scott Vanassche placed only in the 4X400 relay at the meet, coming in third with Strum and the Lovells as teammates.
Vanassche has a strong record to live up to and will be defending his titles in the 4X400 and 100 and 200 dashes this season.
On the women’s side, junior heptathlete Laura Sibley placed fourth in the 100 and 400 hurdles.
Sibley said the meet was beneficial to get a glimpse of athletes the ‘Cats don’t normally compete against. She feels the small team will have to work hard this year to make up for its small numbers.
“Having a small team is hard because if one person can’t compete, it hurts everyone,” Sibley said.
With only two seniors, the women will be depending on many of their younger classmates.
Freshmen hurdler Brooke Bekkedahl and jumper Chelsea Machida are pegged to stand out this season.
Machida placed second at the meet with a high jump of 1.62 meters. Junior Kelly McLeod was close behind in third with a 1.52-meter leap.