PENDLETON - The Pendleton High School track and field team had a fairly successful season last year.
Highlights included a Class 4A fourth-place finish at state in the girls 400-meter relay, a state triple jump champion (Sarajane Rosenberg) and a seventh-place finish in the boys 1,600 relay.
But, as the Buckaroos attempt to build off last year's success this season, they will pretty much be starting from scratch.
"We're young," Pendleton coach Mark Christensen said. "We're starting kind of fresh again."
Rosenberg, who placed in four events at state last year, is now running at the University of Idaho. Rosenberg was part of last year's 400 relay team, which will return Whitney Humphrey. Jessica Baty has opted to play club volleyball, and whether MacKenzie Larson will run track is still unknown.
"That's a tough deal," Christensen said. "Those girls scored a lot of points."
The boys also lost a great deal from its best relay team, returning only junior Jeff Ellner off the 1,600. Titus Moyer, Kipp Curtis and Zane Fisher were all lost to graduation.
Christensen has a few hopefuls for the boys 400 relay, including Ellner, who ran with the short relay team from time to time last year. Christensen sees a roster of Ellner, sophomores Maurice Peterson, Robert Thorne and Jace McGrath, along with senior Cameron Federline for both relay teams.
In a way, Ellner said, this year is more of a means of getting to next year.
"We're a young team this year, so hopefully, we can get some good times in this year and get used to running the races," Ellner said. "By next year, we'll have a good team because we're too young to really do much."
Ellner's main goal this season is to place at the district meet, but Christensen said not to underestimate Pendleton because of its youth.
"I think we're going to be pretty good again with our boys," Christensen said. "But we're going to be younger."
Federline is looking to make a repeat trip to state, where he placed seventh in the long jump. The Bucks also will have sophomore Brandon Caswell, who finished with the state's second-best time in the 400-meter wheelchair dash and the 1,500-meter wheelchair run.
"He's back and faster than ever," Federline said.
Away from the track, Pendleton will be looking for big things from Erik Anderson. Anderson, who wrestled in the 275-pound weight class at the state tournament during the winter, is hoping to make a splash with the shot put and a javelin.
The shot put, in particular, is Anderson's strength, and Christensen said he is just now realizing his potential.
"He still doesn't know what he's doing," Christensen said. "He's already doing better this year, and it's only his second year throwing the shot.
"He's a specimen. He's a big guy."
On the girls' side, Marissa Hammond, fresh off a run to state in basketball, will be trying to improve on her 16th-place finish at state in discus last year.
Hammond will compete in the discus and javelin and has set a goal to make state in both events.
Jackie Herman, who placed 15th in the triple jump last year, also will be back.
Pendleton begins its season next Friday at the Time Trials in Hermiston. The Bucks will host the Pendleton Invitational on April 8. District will take place on May 13.
As usual, Christensen said, Summit will be near the top of the Intermountain Conference.
"I still see them being up there quite a ways," Christensen said "They have a heck of a program going there."