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BOYS TRACK PREVIEW: Federal Way looking to continue tradition
Federal Way Eagles
Coach: Sam Beesley (fifth year)
Last year's record: 5-0 (SPSL Central champs, WCD co-champs)
Strong returners: Soph. Ezekiel McNeal (sprints); Soph. JJ McNeal (sprints); Soph. Michael Tate (jumps/sprints); Sr. Meron Simon (distance); Sr. Pat Crews (distance); Sr. Nathan Jowett (javelin); Soph. D'Londo Tucker (jumps); Soph. Johnny Miles (jumps); Jr. Jordan Pulu (discus); Jr. Uso Olive (shot put); Soph. Aaron Persinger (hurdles); Sr. Mathew Chung (pole vault); Sr. Kyle Willis (distance); Sr. Grayson Wolf (distance).
Top newcomers: Jr. DJ May (jumps/sprints); Fr. Kerson Lubin (sprints); Fr. Mitch Stewart (distance); Fr. Jay-Tee Tuili (shot put).
Notable: The ultra-talented Eagles finished unbeaten in the SPSL Central Division last year and also tied for the West Central District crown. Head coach Sam Beesley returns plenty of talent from a season ago, led by sophomore Ezekiel McNeal and senior Meron Simon.
McNeal was part Federal Way's 4x400 relay team that set an all-time state record to win the state title. He also finished eighth in the 400 meters. Simon, who has already signed with the University of Washington, will be one of the top distance runners in the area. Simon finished ninth during the state cross country meet in the fall.
"Federal Way has a rich track tradition," Beesley said. "This year's team will strive to continue that tradition."
Coach: Jay Cardwell (eighth season)
Last year's record: 1-4 (fifth in SPSL Central)
Strong returners: Jr. Shawn Prigget (sprints); Sr. Dominique Maxie (sprints); Sr. Nicky Fualaau (throws); Sr. Mike Reidel (throws); Sr. Garth Ward (distance); Jr. Sean Eidsmoe (distance); Jr. Austin Hitchcock (hurdles); Jr. Kenny Pickens (sprints); Sr. Bruk Tafare (distance).
Key newcomers: Sr. Justin Dean (distance); Fr. Justin Evans (hurdles); Jr. Willie Roach (jumps/sprints); Fr. Hafton Tafare (distance); Fr. Blake Hanson (distance).
Notable: The Titans struggled in the team standings last year in the SPSL Central Division, winning only one dual meet. But Beamer brings back plenty of individual talent.
Senior Dominique Maxie was part of the Titans' state championship-winning 4x100 relay team back in 2009 and should be one of the top sprinters in the SPSL this year. He will play wide receiver at Central Washington in the fall.
Beamer also has several talented distance runners, including seniors Garth Ward, Justin Dean and Bruk Tafare, junior Sean Eidsmoe and freshmen Hafton Tafare and Blake Hansen.
"We focus on improving from week to week," Cardwell said. "This season is about getting the most from our kids."
Coach: Tom Decker (fifth year)
Last year's record: 4-1 (second in SPSL Central)
Strong returners: Sr. Chase Braxmeyer (distance); Jr. Oscar Iraheta (distance); Jr. Yobel Mengistu (jumps); Sr. Mikhail Vlasenko (throws); Sr. Keegan Giles (throws); Jr. Jefferson Aumua (throws); Sr. Aaron Jeong (sprints); Sr. Jadon Sand (sprints).
Top newcomers: Soph. Yohan Gebrehewit (distance); Soph. Lionel Estrada (distance); Jr. Kendall Green (jumps); Sr. Cameron Bear (sprints); Soph. Darius Harris (sprints); Sr. Casey McGrue (throws).
Notable: The 2011 edition of the Raiders return 11 SPSL Meet qualifiers, seven West Central District qualifiers and three state participants. Leading the list is senior Chase Braxmeyer, who finished in eighth place in the 3,200 meters last year at the state meet.
Also back are senior Aaron Jeong, who is a two-time district qualifier in the 100 and 200 meters, and junior Yobel Mengistu, who was a state alternate last year in the triple jump.
"We are excited for the leadership our senior athletes will lend to the team," said Decker. "Many of them have been a part of the program for all four years of high school and are ready for a great season."
Decker sees Federal Way and Auburn-Riverside as the two teams to beat in the SPSL Central Division.
Coach: Sam Hunt (fifth year)
Last year's record:1-4 (sixth in SPSL Central)
Strong returners: Sr. Isaac Ochoa (springs); Jr. Drew Thompson (jumps).
Top newcomers: None listed
Notable: Both Isaac Ochoa and Drew Thompson return for the Gators after qualifying for the West Central District meet a season ago. Ochoa runs the 200 and 400 meters and Thompson qualified in the high jump.
Decatur will be competing in the SPSL 3A Division against Lakes, Auburn Mountainview, Enumclaw, Bonney Lake and Peninsula.