558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
Track team long on numbers, short on experience
Head coach Ernie Brooks is pleased with the effort and commitment he is seeing
March 14, 2013
The Crook County High School track and field squad is going to be young — very young — but that doesn’t mean that the team can’t be successful.
The team had a record 84 athletes turn out for the first day of practice, and has continued to add participants daily.
However, despite the huge turnout, the team has just a handful of juniors and seniors.
“We have great depth in our freshmen and sophomores,” said head coach Ernie Brooks. “Our sophomore class is pretty strong and it will be interesting just how things will map out with the young kids and how they will mature.”
Brooks is pleased with how hard the team is working early in the year, and was quick to add that they have bought into the team’s motto.
“Our motto is 212,” he said. “212 represents that you have to do one extra degree of work. Water at 211 degrees is just hot, but at 212 degrees it’s boiling hot. So we need that one extra degree of difference in how we work and we will build on last year’s motto of being uncommon.”
Crook County, which finished second to La Grande in both the boys and girls team scoring at last year’s Greater Oregon League Championships, should be competitive again this year.
The girls squad should be strong in the sprints, where three members of last year’s state qualifying 4 x 100 meter relay team return.
Led by McKenzie Zirbel, who also qualified in the 200 and pole vault a year ago, the Cowgirls have a talented group of sprinters. Madie Bernard, and Laken Berlin also ran on last year’s relay team. Other Cowgirls who qualified for state last year were Danielle Michael in the pole vault, Molly Viles in the discus, and Kathryn Kaonis in the long jump.
The Cowboys also have a solid nucleus of returning state qualifiers. Chance Sutfin placed in both the shot put and discus at last year’s state championship. Other Cowboys with experience at the state meet include distance runners Grayson Munn (1,500 and 3,000-meter runs), and Luis Rivera (800). Alonzo Lopez also ran at state a year ago as a member of the 4 x 100 relay team. Lopez, a 400-meter specialist just missed qualifying for state in that event a year ago.
Still, in order to be successful as a team, others are going to have to step up.
“We know who our state placers and district champs are, but we just need the team to grow. If we can all grow, the cream will rise and it will be pretty thick. We told the kids that you need to crank it up and they stepped it up and gave that little extra that we need. That’s the difference between average and good, good and great, or great and state champions.”
The track team opened their season yesterday when they hosted the Icebreaker Invitational. The team will be back in action next Wednesday when they travel to Bend for the Bend Relays which are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.