54th Track Invitational Runs Saturday


File Photo. Girls winning awards at Centennial Invitational.

Sonam Phuntsok, Staff Writer

The Centennial track team community has been hosting the Centennial Invitational for the last 53 years and this month they will present the 54th edition of the Centennial Invitational at 10 am.  

The event has developed from a small six-team invitational to being acknowledged as one of the most prestigious interscholastic track and field meet held in the Pacific Northwest.

The inaugural meet, held in 1964, was the inspiration of Centennial’s first track and field coach, Al Tarperning. With the support of Principal Bill Burgess, Athletic Director Ken Servas and the high school staff, meet was held during its first two years at Gresham High School. The meet came to Centennial in 1967 after the stadium and the all-weather track were constructed.

For the first few year, only teams from the greater Portland metropolitan area were invited. During the tenure of Centennial’s second track and field coach, Hiram Crane, the invitational become a statewide and interstate event with the invitational became a statewide amd interstate event with the invitation of teams and individuals from Washington and Oregon. In 1975, competition in girls events was started. The meet took on an international flavor in 1984 when athletes from Canada competed. Leadership and direction for the meet continued under subsequent Head Coach Diane Crane, Ron Boyce, Greg Letts and Luke Franzke, with the support of Athletic Directors Ken Scally, Duane Brady, John Keller, Dan Hiatt, Ron Berg, Lonnie Beach, Chris Coleman, John Hawley and now Brent Child.

Over the years many outstanding athletes have appeared at the invitational. Some have gone to star at the collegiate level and many have appeared in international and Olympic meets. For example of the quality of our meet, the shot put record is held by Ryan Crouser- Barlow High School who won the Olympic gold medal with a record toss.

The 54th Centennial invitational is the 9th to be held on the refurbished all-weather eight-lane, 400m track. This year, at total of 30 schools will be entered with over 1,000 athletes participating in the meet.