By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Mason Strunk had already exceeded his goals for this season in Salem Academy’s first Track and Field meet at the Kennedy Icebreaker on March 14.
Geez the Junior broke the school record in the discus in that meet with a throw of 159-feet-two-inches and PR’d in the shot put with a 50-feet-nine-inch throw all in one meet.
Now he is retooling his goals as he now prepares for the rest of the season ahead of him.
“That’s so cool, I mean I’ve broke both my goals of what I wanted to do for the whole season in that meet so let’s see where we can go from here you know?,” said Strunk with a grin. “With the shot put, I just switched from a glide to a rotational so it’s a new technique. I’m still up there with my PR’s, need to sharpen everything up.
“Discus, just need to just go through it. Get a little faster and faster and keep setting new goals.”
In their meet with 6A’s Gresham and 5A’s North Salem at North Salem High School, Strunk threw the shot put five-inches off his PR with a 50-feet-4-inch through as he creeps ever so closer to that School Record.
Dawson Patton is another big name expecting to step up this year and continue his trek in the Triple and Long Jumps on the guys side this season for the Crusaders with the relays looking to fill the big shoes left by Wilson McLean. McLean is running for Concordia University-Irvine, a NCAA Division-II School in Southern California and was part of the Distance Medley Relay that broke the 20-year school record on February 23.
“Wilson is a rare breed. I mean he’s an athlete of athletes especially in Track. The numbers he’s putting up right now in College is incredible,” said Salem Academy Head Coach Casey Haslebacher. “With losing him, that’s a big void. But at the same time we got Mason picking up, Dawson, Jayden Crew, the 4×1 group I think will be a good contender.
“Just little pieces here and there where we’re picking up is what is going to make us, hopefully get us into that Championship-level.”
Strunk admits that, in the field events, it’s up to him and Patton to help lead the squad the best they can.
“It’s going to be pretty big, we’re going to have to get up there, especially me and Dawson,” said Strunk. “I think we could win, I think both of us could win two events each. We’ll see what happens, I think we can step up pretty big.”
The Crusader Boys have brought home the last two District Titles as well entering this season with them competing in their second meet of the season Wednesday afternoon.
On the girls side, the squad is slim described Haslebacher. But he’s happy with the younger talent coming to go with the returners they have in Sarah Keynon, Chole Baker and Kristen Koenhke to name a few returners.
“We’re slim on the girls side, but the girls that we do have are really, really good. With Dylainee (Carmony) coming in as a freshman, you saw her run against the North girls. We picked up some really good freshman talent along with just growing with the group that we have,” said Haslebacher.
The next meet for Salem Academy will be on April 4 at Salem Academy when they’ll host Dayton for a League Meet at 3:30pm.