It'll be strength versus strength when Trico League teams gather in Woodland this week for the conference's 2001 track and field championships.
The Columbia High boys are in the running -- not to mention jumping and throwing events -- for their first league title since 1998, when CHS was still a 1A school. They finished second last year in their first year of 2A competition.
For their part, the Columbia girls are looking to improve on three straight second-place finishes in league championship meets.
"Our strengths are in the field events," Bruins Coach Doug Miller said, "but we're also solid in the sprints and the relays. We're going in with a strong bunch of girls and boys and should do quite well."
The CHS boys are coming off a strong showing at the Castle Rock Invitational on Friday in which they racked up 82 points and unofficially took team honors.
Junior Teddy Davis led the way with victories in the three jumping events. His efforts in the long jump and triple jump marked career bests and helped him win the meet's Outstanding Boy Athlete award.
In the 400-meter run, junior Keith McMillen and sophomore Adam Neff finished second and fourth respectively as each set new
personal records for that distance. Neff also PR'd in the 200.
"Those times came just at the right time of the season for Keith and Adam," Miller said. "Like others they're continuing to show improvement as the season goes along."
Senior Jacob Anderson cleared 14 feet to win the pole vault and placed second in the 110 high hurdles in a best-ever time. Junior Mike Wild took first in the discus and added a fifth in the shot put.
Columbia's 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams both came in fourth in their races.
In the girls meet, CHS accumulated 76 points (third best) against some stiff competition from the Castle Rock and Kalama teams.
Senior MaryAnn Graves collected firsts in the long jump (with a meet-record distance), 100 dash and 100 high hurdles. She finished second in the shot put.
Sophomore Kristin Janney won the 200 dash and earned seconds in the triple jump and 400 dash. Sophomore Candace Henderson picked up a second in the 300 hurdles, posting a PR for the second-straight meet.
In the long jump, freshman Katie Mansfield set a PR with her first-ever jump in the 15-foot range.
The highlight of the meet, according to Miller, was Janney's come-from-behind victory in the
200, over her friend and rival, Castle Rock senior Shannon Selby (who beat Janney in the triple jump and 400).
"Kristin was behind for 194 meters. With three steps to go Selby was ahead, but Kristin found a little burst at the end and had a big-time lean that's a coach's dream," Miller said.
It was Janney's first victory over Selby in the 200 and the second race in a row in which she's broken the 27-second barrier. The first time she did it was April 27 at Kalama, in a career-best time of 26.5. (She set a PR in the 400 the same day.)
"By and large, I'm very happy with where our kids are performance-wise going into the league meet," Miller said. "I have a feeling we're going to roll out of league in good shape for district."
The league meet got underway Wednesday with finals in the boys high jump, boys and girls long jumps, girls pole vault, boys discus and girls javelin, and preliminary heats in the boys and girls 100 and 200 sprints.
All running event finals, plus finals in the remaining field events, will be held on Friday, starting at 4 p.m. at Woodland Stadium.
The top four finishers in the laned events (sprints, hurdles) will advance to district. The top six in non-laned events and field events also will move on.