South Umpqua track has a Flores to spare

TOM EGGERS, teggers@newsreview.info


TRI CITY - Unfortunately, one Flores - Gabe, the state champion sprinter - used up his eligibility for the South Umpqua High track and field team.

The good news is another Flores - D.J., a junior who’s one of the state’s top 800-meter runners - is back.

D.J. Flores will lead a Lancer boys team that lost three talented seniors in Gabe Flores (the Class 4A champion in the 100 and 200), Bobby Wilson and Jake Collins. They scored the bulk of S.U.’s district points last season. Wilson, Collins and D.J Flores joined Gabe Flores on the state championship 4x100 relay.

“We won’t have as many big names ... kids who we could rely on to get first or second for us most of the time,” said South Umpqua second-year coach Keri Vermillion. “ But I think we’ll have a lot more contributors. There are kids who can step up and compete.”

D.J. Flores placed fourth at state in the 800, clocking 1:59.07, and won last Thursday’s Douglas County Invitational in a slow time of 2:08.20 on a cold, wet day. He’ll probably be on one or both of the relays and could run the 400.

Other top returnees for the boys include junior Tim Wilson, a district placer in the long jump (19-9) and triple jump (39-0); senior David Crownover, a district placer in the 3,000 (9:59.4); senior Mike Lowry in the javelin (141-5) and distances; senior Kyle Blankenship in the high jump (5-10) and relays; and junior Triton Crane in the pole vault (12-6) and relays.

“Our strength areas are the sprints and jumps,” Vermillion said. “We don’t have as many kids from 400 (meters) on up.”

The South Umpqua girls return senior Chelsea Duffy, who was the Far West League champion in the high jump (5-1). Sophomore Jenny Stevenson qualified for state in the 200 (27.54) and 400 (1:03.45).

Senior Megan Moreau was a district placer in the pole vault (8-0), shot put (31-0) and 100, and sophomore Chelsea Langston scored in the 100. Senior Sydni Witte (javelin) and junior Stephanie Collins (hurdles) are other returnees.

“Some of the kids have already set PRs and I’m very pleased to see that this early in the season,” Vermillion said.

The Lancers hosted the South Umpqua Invitational today at Loghry Field.