For Sisters High School head track and field Coach Jeff Larson, the season has already checked off some successes.

The track is clear of snow: Check.

The coaching staff is very experienced: Check.

Nearly 50 kids are registered for the team, including some top state placers and enthusiastic newcomers: Check.

Larson believes he may have the most balanced boys team of his eight-year history with the team, which is what it takes to pull points in when it comes to championship-level meets. The girls team includes depth in certain areas, but the jury is still out overall since new members of the team are still largely unknown entities until the competitive season begins.

Larson highlighted the team’s known strengths, starting with the distance runners, where Sisters has a long tradition of achievement.

“Lots to be happy about here,” he said. “We have a large distance contingent made up of wonderfully dedicated kids, many of whom faithfully worked out all winter in preparation for track season.”

On the girls side, senior Kate Bowen, who placed in both the 1,500 and 3,000 at state last year, and 800-meter-state-qualifier Emma Singleton return. In addition the team welcomes freshman Ella Thorsett, who won the individual state title in cross-country in November.

The boys distance team is led by juniors John Peckham, the 2019 state champion in cross-country, and Will Thorsett, who placed third behind Peckham. As sophomores, both boys qualified for state in track in the 3,000 meters. Other distance runners likely to pull in varsity points from the distance team include Ethan Hosang, Sam May, Josh Liddell and Vicente Rebolledo.

Josh Nordell and Sarah Thorsett coach the distance crew.

A pleasant surprise for Larson is the contingent of throwers (javelin, discus, shotput) out for the team.

“The 2020 roster has the most throwers in my eight years with the program,” he said. “These boys and girls are unafraid of hard work and eagerly accept coaching. Leading the contingent on the boys side is Hudson Jones, who has a great chance of qualifying for the state meet this year.

“The girls leader is sophomore Lexie Miller, who is explosive and versatile enough to also run hurdles and high jump,” he said. Dr. Eden Miller, Lexie’s mother, who has assisted the team for many years, serves as the main coach for the throwing events.

Sisters also has a long history of successful pole vaulters, as well as long, triple and high jumpers, according to Larson.

“The jumps will once again be a strength for the tracksters,” said Larson. “The boys have senior Garrett Kersavage back in the pole vault and triple jump, where he has been on the state meet podium in the past. He is a great leader for our team.”

With a best of 20 feet 8 inches as a sophomore, Hayden Sharp also has state experience in the jumps, according to Larson. For the girls, senior Samantha Silva returns after an eighth-place finish in the long jump at state last season. She is also a successful triple jumper. Larson’s daughter Shelby Larson returns as one of the state’s top returning pole vaulters following her third-place finish last year at state. Sophomore Hollie Lewis qualified for state last year in the high jump and owns a best mark of 5 feet even.

Jim Anderson and Ross Kennedy will share coaching duties in the jumping events.

In the sprinting events, Larson knows he has one of the best one-two punches in the state with juniors Brody Anderson and Sharp. Anderson won the 400 meters at last year’s state meet in a time of 50.45. Sharp placed fourth in the event in 51.53.

“The 400 is their specialty, but they can obviously compete at any sprint distance,” said Larson. “Anderson has faithfully worked in the off-season to expand his repertoire, and Sharp is planning to add the hurdles to help the team find more ways to score points.”

Caitlin Schwab, a four-year team member, leads the girls sprint corps and Hollie Lewis is the returning 300-meter hurdle specialist for the team.

The Outlaws compete once before spring break when the team travels to Prineville for the Breaking the Ice meet on Thursday, March 19 where they will compete against Crook County, Baker, Burns, Condon, Wheeler, Gilchrist, Ione, North Lake, and Culver.

“This meet will give us a chance to check our training and get into the rhythm of a multi-team meet,” said Larson.