PALATINE HILL -- With one meet completed on the 2019 schedule, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers will head to the Pacific Preview this weekend for the second event of the year.
Women - Track Events
Of the five returning seniors, two will compete primarily in track events. Ayla Kumano returns after studying overseas last season. A 400-meter hurdler and potential 4x400 relay member, Kumano hit her personal best in the hurdles at the 2017 NWC Championships. Katie Hull is also back for her senior year and will compete in steeplechase, an event in which she qualified for the conference meet in 2017.
Many sophomores will compete in running events this season. First-year competitor Kennie Beighle joins the team from women's soccer. She'll likely make immediate contributions in the 100 and 200 meters, plus the relays. Alexandra Coons is off a breakout cross country season and will be a 1,500- and 5,000-meter competitor for the Pios this spring. Etta Moen will compete in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters this year while possibly seeing steeplechase duty. Moen is poised for a great spring. Genevieve Serna has podium potential in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters after finishing second at the opening event of the season. A second-year sprinter, Emily Tash is poised for a great year and will compete in short and long sprints as well as the relays.
Among the first-year competitors is Maite Blanc, who also competed in her first cross country season last fall. Blanc will race in the 800 and 1,500 meters and has solid strength and speed. Adalynn Griesser is also off her inaugural cross country season and had one of the best years on the team. She had one of her two under 26-minute performances at the NCAA Division III West Region Cross Country Championships last November. Noa Hochman is a short sprints specialist who will compete in the long jump, too. From Encinitas, Calif., she chose Lewis & Clark because she "fell in love with everything about the school after applying." Isabel Jamieson is from Waitsfield, Vt. and will compete for the Pios in the spring for the first time. Jamieson is a distance runner and will compete in mid-distance events. Maddie Launstein will also provide depth on the distance roster. Julia Barsocchini and Jessica Cerne both moved over to track and field off their first women's basketball seasons. Both will compete in sprints. Likewise, Caroline Karson is on the team for the first time after competing for women's swimming. Karson is a distance competitor.
Women - Field Events
Chrislyn DeMattos will seek to qualify for the NWC Championships in her high jump and triple jump events. She hit her all-time best in the high jump at last year's Lewis & Clark Spring Break Open, which the Pios will host this year on Mar. 15-16. She added a triple jump personal best at the L&C Invite, which is held in April. Rachelle Locey has been excellent in her offseason training and has begun working on heptathlon. Locey will also compete in the long jump and triple jump, events in which she's competed in at the NWC Championships. She was seventh in the long jump last year. Tihanne Mar-shall is a long jump and triple jump specialist and has also qualified for past conference meets. She'll likely again this year.
All four of the Pios' juniors are primarily field participants. Lauren Keegan is a high jump specialist in her second year with the program. After offseason skill development, Keegan should add depth for the team after ending the 2018 season with her all-time best jump. Syrah Starnes is expected to have her best season throwing in her third year. Starnes will compete in the javelin, hammer and shot put. A hammer qualifier at last year's NWC Championships, Starnes threw career bests in all three events as a sophomore. Morgan Taylor is the Pioneers' most experienced heptathlete after placing just outside scoring position at last year's conference meet. An emerging leader for Lewis & Clark, Taylor continues to be good for the team and will look to capitalize on her sophomore season. Erin Khong joined the team after a women's swimming season and will compete in throws for the first time.
Shannon Perry is in her first year with Lewis & Clark and will compete in the high jump and possibly the long jump. She was a first-team all-league selection at Woodside HS in Redwood City, Calif. She picked Lewis & Clark because of "the location, the amazing environmental studies and overseas study programs and the beautiful campus." Maddie Thomas comes to Portland from Vacaville, Calif. where she was team MVP and an all-city selection. Thomas will compete in a combination of heptathlon, high jump, long jump and the relays. A javelin thrower and sprinter, Anastasia Tull joins the Pioneers from Centreville, Va. She picked Lewis & Clark in part because it "really turned out to be the 'whole package'" academically, athletically and in its size.
Men - Track Events
Following a season away for overseas study, Bryce Johnson is back for his senior year and has picked up where he left off as a sophomore. In the short sprints, Johnson could compete for conference points. Ryan Nguyen raced to one of his best cross country seasons last fall and is back to compete in mid-distance events this spring. He'll be a relied-upon leader. Conor Sandoval specializes in the 800 meters and has competed in the 4x400-meter relay.
Miguel Haro Ruiz had a major breakthrough as a sophomore and already won the 800 meters at this year's opening event, the Ed Boitano Invitational last weekend. The junior has the potential to compete at the national level. Will Hoard returns to the track and field team after returning to cross country this fall. He'll develop into racing the steeplechase. Andy Morales is a transfer junior in his first year at Lewis & Clark. From Claremont, Calif. originally, Morales will race in the long sprints and sports good range. Sean Richardson is off a great cross country season and should continue to compete at the conference level. He placed fifth in the 10,000 meters at last year's NWC Championships with a career-best effort. Xavier Tharpe is competing for the second time this season as a crossover from football. He's already hit strides better than last year and could make a conference final.
Among the sophomore class, Alex Hart is fully focused on track and field all year long. He'll look to improve in the short and long sprints. Isam Tahir has provided a huge boost in the fall and should be a factor in the 100 and 200 meters, races in which he made the conference final last season. He'll also compete in the 4x100-meter relay. Aidan Verba-Hamilton is also a football crossover who will make an immediate impact in the sprints and relays. Matthew Weston was just shy of making all-conference last season as a freshman and should continue that trend. He'll compete in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Matthew White is in his first year competing for track and field after two cross country seasons. White is expected to boost the Pios' success in distance races.
Benji Bromberg is in his first year from Brookline, Mass. and brings versatility because of his hurdling ability. He'll likely score points at the conference level. Jack Hyde competed in four cross country events during the fall and will see time in mid-distance, longer races and possibly steeplechase. Anakin Mares emerged as a key freshman for the Pioneers football program and is competing for a spot on the 4x100-relay team. He's explosive and adds a unique element to the team's spring core. Connor Robertson built a strong foundation during his first collegiate cross country season and will move toward his wheelhouse - mid-distance. Justin Seidel joined the team from Santa Clara, Calif. at the start of the season. He'll look to contribute in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters.
Men - Field Events
Andrew Werst competed at the conference meet and has already started ahead of where he was last season. He placed seventh at last year's NWC Championships.
Logan Kyle was one of the Pios' best first-year performers last season, earning All-NWC honors. He will bring increased strength and better technical skills into his sophomore year. He's a potential all-conference selection if not on the podium in the pole vault.
Sam Johnson will be focused on decathlon and is developing through all 10 events. He raced in the 100 meters and competed in long jump and triple jump during the team's first meet of the year last weekend.
Following this weekend's Pacific Preview, the Pioneers will host the L&C Spring Break Open at Eldon Fix Track at Griswold Stadium, one of the premiere venues in the Pacific Northwest. March ends with the Willamette Invitational (Mar. 23) and the Pacific Combined Event (Mar. 25-26).
Linfield's Jenn Boyman Memorial Invitational and the Pacific Luau Invitational lead off the first two weekends of April before the Northwest Conference Championships Heptathlon and Decathlon take place at Linfield on Apr. 15-16. Lewis & Clark hosts its second event, the L&C Invite, on Apr. 20, the final meet before the full NWC Championships on Apr. 26-27.
The Portland Twilight is hosted by Lewis & Clark on May 3 before the Linfield Open the next day. Willamette hosts the West Coast Invitational on May 11 and George Fox has its final qualifier on May 15.
The SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio will host the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships on May 23-25.