SVSJ preview: CHS track and field getting ready for shortened season with different goals and expectations than normal

EDITOR’S NOTE: This morning, we begin our look at Season 2 sports in local high schools. And there is a difference for Mount Si and Cedarcrest, with Mount Si and Kingco doing their normal winter sports, while for CHS and Wesco, they are doing their normal spring sports. Today, we feature Cedarcrest track and field. We hope to have additional Red Wolve previews for you in the coming days, and also as well previews from Mount Si teams as well. So keep it here and we’ll have plenty of stuff to give you as we take a look at what to expect for the next few weeks.

This spring for Cedarcrest High School’s track and field team is going to be a very different one for sure. With the 2020 season having been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this season being shortened with no postseason as a result of the compressed calendar following the onset of the virus, this spring shapes up to be more about providing athletes an opportunity to compete and succeed. “(It’s) different than usual years. No post season championships to strive for. Goal this year is to get athletes out practicing and competing. For those that are new to the program, get them to learn what track and field is about,” said CHS coach Bruce McDowell by email to the SVSJ.

Longtime head man McDowell is back for his 28th season as head coach. He will be handling the boys’ head coaching duties, with co-head coach Dean Vergillo also back, for his second season as a head coach with the program. Vergillo, who has been on the coaching staff for over a decade, will lead the girls’ program.

Getting athletes ready has been a challenge for the coaches. “It hasn’t been easy. Hard to be motivated to work out when there was so much uncertainty about the status of a season,” McDowell told us by email.

On the boys’ side, seniors John Meier (distance races), Jacob Hall (hurdles), Chester Brackenbush (pole vault) and Ethan Whetten (throwing events) will look to lead the Red Wolves, while sophomore London Haley (distance races) also is expected to be a factor. As for the girls, seniors Sydney Smith (hurdles), Lily Bradley (pole vault) and Ava LaPorte (sprint races and jumping events) will look to lead their squad, while juniors Avril Wilson (pole vault), Olivia Hillestad (throwing events) and Julia Luoto (high jump, javelin, additional events if necessary) also are expected to provide solid contributions. Identifiying freshman and other newcomers of note is a challenge for the staff this spring due to the lack of recent competitions.

The coaching staff also has a good amount of experience. Former head coach Marc Hillestad, who handled those duties along with McDowell from 1996 to 2008 is back working with sprinters and jumpers in his second season doing those duties. Throw coach Mike Miyoshi is in his 12th season, and pole vault instructor Chris Minnie is in his ninth season. Also in his second season is hurdles coach Michael Seymore.

With meets likely closed off to most fans, webstreams will be likely the best bet for fans, but McDowell has this caution about whether meets will be streamed or not. “Not sure how easy it is to stream a track and field meet to make it a worthwhile viewing experience,” McDowell told us. So if meets are streamed, fans will need to pay close attention, and perhaps keep an eye on or other live timing sites incase schools utilize those to help with meet management this spring.

The schedule will consist of four meets. Three are at home, starting with the one this Thursday against Marysville-Pilchuck. CHS will also have home meets April 29 and May 6, and their lone road meet is on April 22, when they meet the Tomahawks and Lakewood up at MPHS in Marysville. All meets will begin at 4:00 p.m. and if the school webstreams the home meets, these will be on NFHS Network.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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