CG track looking to build on success

Cottage Grove Sentinel file photo

Despite an abbreviated season a year ago, the Lions’ track and field program still enjoyed a successful season, sending a total of 14 athletes (including a relay team) to the state meet. This season, with more of a return to normal, the ultimate pursuit is a return to the state meet, which will be returning back to Hayward Field. 

“It was nice to have a season,” said Head Coach Ricky Knutson. “It was nice to give the kids a chance to compete. We ended up qualifying a good group for the state meet, so that was good. Team-wise, our girls were fourth and our boys were third at the district. I guess I would say that’s a good starting point.”

In last season’s state meet both the boys and girls programs finished square in the middle at 14 and 15. While Cottage Grove saw a handful of impactful seniors graduate, the good news is most of the key performers from last season will be returning for this year. 

Tyler Russell, Brennen Murphy, Isaac Stere and Ty Kishen highlight the boys’ side, who competed at the state meet last season and will be back. Leah Schiewe and Gracie Arnold are now both seniors and are the two returning athletes from the girl’s side to be back for this season. 

With a return to normal this season, Knutson and the rest of the track and field program are excited to get a full slate of competition. 

“It gives us a lot more time to develop the kids,” said Knutson. “We don’t feel as rushed. Last year it was more of just trying to keep the kids healthy, because we didn’t have very much time. And they just didn’t have that foundation or that base fitness like they do this year. And so this gives us a lot more time to get them stronger and faster.”

The Lions will get their first action of the new season on March 17 at Siuslaw High School in an icebreaker meet against five other schools with the first event scheduled to start at 4 p.m.