MATTAWA — The thing about track and field, scoring 10 points at a time is the idea, but depth points is how a team wins championships.
Warriors head coach Joel Dugan believes his boys team has that one-two punch of quality and depth to win the SCAC East this season. Weather permitting, they’ll host the Windbreaker Invitational on Friday to take the first step on the road to Cheney and the 1A Track and Field Championships. First event is at 3:30 p.m.
“I think we’re well rounded with a lot of scoring potential,” Dugan said. “The SCAC East be us and College Place, but we believe we have the numbers and the quality to compete for a championship.
“This year is just a really good group of boys. They help each other. They teach each other. They hold each other accountable. Besides working with their all-around talent, they’re just a fun group to be around.”
They return SCAC East district 800-meter champion Tanu Buck, who is primed to dip under 2 minutes this season.
“He’s a heck of an athlete and he’s really matured. His best is 2:01, but we’ll definitely see him run faster this year,” Dugan said. “We’ll run him in the 1600 to see how he does, but he has a real passion for the 200.”
Buck will also contribute on the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, so Dugan is going to have to make some decisions on how to best use the junior standout. They also return sprinter/high jumper Tony Avalos, who will run the 100 meters and high jump, as well as contribute to the 4x100.
Ivan Sanchez is another sprinter expected to contend for the top of the podium each week in the 100, and 200 on the track and in the field pole vaulting. Senior Ezequiel Rodriguez is the 3200-meter combatant. Wahluke has quality javelin throwers in Oscar Rodriguez and Manny Garcia.
“Tony Avalos is coming off a torn achilles, but from what I’ve seen so far, he can jump higher and run faster than before his injury,” Dugan said. “He’s gone higher in practice, but in competition he’s gone 6 feet (in the high jump). We ran him in the 300 hurdles last year, but I don’t want to put the extra pressure on him this year.”
The Wahluke girls are led by state placer Mirna Gallaga, who set the school record a year ago (112-feet-11) when she placed third in the discus at the 1A championships. She’ll also triple jump and see time on the track in the 100 meters and the 4x100 relay.
“Mirna is a senior coming off a good season. She broke the school record (in the discus) on her first throw at state,” Dugan said. “She’s just a great all-around athlete that has some colleges interested. She’s also looking to go to state this year in the triple.”
The Wahluke girls also return junior Claudia Olivares, who set the school record in the 1600 two years ago as a freshman. Olivares will also contribute to the 4x400. They also return 300-meter hurdler Brisa Mendoza, who will also run on the relays.
“I would say our girls are young this year. We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen that are good in spots,” Dugan said. “So I guess we’ll find out as they develop.”
First stop on the road to Cheney, the Windbreaker Invitational on the home track.