By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.— Stephanie Urenda’s freshman year was an eye-opening experience coming from Waldo Middle School to the High School competition at McKay last Spring.
Urenda admitted that she didn’t feel her best in a season in which she finished with five Top 2 finishes in the 100 meters and a fourth-place finish in the 200 meter dash at the Mountain Valley Conference District Meet. Finishing the race in 26.58 seconds, a PR for Urenda entering her sophomore season with the experience now to take into this upcoming Track and Field season.
“Honestly I felt a little unmotivated last year and I didn’t feel my best, but alst year taught me that I have to work through that in order to achieve st omething I want,” starts Urenda. “Last year I came from Middle School thinking, ‘oh, you just got to come with talent’…no, you’ll have to work.
“So this year I’m going to implement that hard work and do better things because last year I felt like it wasn’t my year. I see the potential I have, and with that I’m going to try to make something of it and make it and not let it go to waste.”
The potential is there for the Scots Track and Field team. On the girls side outside of Urenda, there’s the girls coming over from the Cross Country team that qualified for State in the Fall in Freshman Kaydance Nguyen (second in 800, 1500 meters as eighth-grader at Stephens Middle School), Junior Tess Barnett (ninth in Pole Vault, 13th and 16th in the 1500 and 3000 meters in District Meet) and Junior Jazmine Libel (eighth in 1,500 and 3,000 meters at District Meet, part of the 4×400 team that finished sixth at District Meet) to name a few.
The guys side features a strong field team to back hurdles guru Tyrus Love. Love broke the school record in the 300-meter hurdles (finished third at State) and was fourth in the 110 hurdles at State last year.
Both Ty Kynaston and Brandon Reaves will look to improve off of last years success. Kynaston finished sixth in the javelin and Reaves looks to build off of his 13th-place finish in the Pole Vault as a sophomore. Reaves hit 11-feet-5.75-inches in the Pole Vault in July during club season.
Their heavy hitters will come in the shot put and discus with an healthy Brian Coburn (second in shot put, fourth in discus at Districts) and Zair Ku Beiza (fourth in shot put at Districts) to lead an thrower group that also has Andy Nguyen (12th in shot, 20th in Javelin at Districts as a Junior).
Ku Beiza has been a walking bruise the last two years, but is just coming back to full strength for the first time since his freshman year to close out his High School career this Spring.
“Me and Coburn, we’ve always had our ups-and-downs in our years. I’m hurt, he’s hurt. But this year we’re both healthy, we’re both excited and I’m happy we get to compete for that number one spot in shot,” said Ku Beiza.
It is feasible for the duo to finish one-two in the shot with Bend’s Tristen Guilfoyle (District Winner) and West Salem’s Simon Thompson (fifth-place finisher) graduating. But they’ll be battling with the Titans Isaac Barnecht who was third in the shot at Districts last season.
Coburn, a Junior, looks more like a javelin thrower with his slim-build compare to Ku Beiza’s muscular frame. But nonetheless, through a hamstring injury Coburn was 2-feet-8.5-inches shy of winning the District Title in the shot put at Summit High School as a sophomore as he comes back healthy and ready to go.
“It’s something I’ve always battled with, I just try to stay in good condition. Make sure I’m stretching,” Coburn said of the injury. “This year, I feel much better. I feel more flexible and I’m just ready to get at it.”
McKay’s first track meet of the year will be at Barlow High School March 19 for the Bruin Icebreaker before April 4’s Marist Track Classic. The Scots first home track meet won’t be until April 15 with West Salem and McKay will host the MVC District Meet this year on May 21-23.