Seaside senior Gretchen Hoekstre

Senior Gretchen Hoekstre is the defending state champion in the shot put.

The Seaside track team undoubtedly owns the top girls’ thrower in the state at the 4A level.

In addition to winning the Cowapa League title in the discus and shot put last year, senior Gretchen Hoekstre is also the defending state champion in the shot, second in the discus.

But Jeff Kilday’s team has much more than that.

The Gulls are in a slight rebuilding phase, with seven freshmen on their 20-athlete roster for the boys. There’s another six freshmen on the girls’ roster.

For the boys, Seaside’s tradition of strong 800-meter runners should continue this year with junior Levi Card, who took third in last year’s league meet, won by the Gulls’ Rafi Sibony.

Sibony — fourth in the state meet last year — has graduated, after carrying on the tradition started by Brett Willyard, state champion in the 800 in 2013.

The Gulls had two top eight finishers in 2014, and Jackson Januik won three straight championships in the 800 from 2015-17.

In the sprints, Seaside showed it will have one of the Cowapa’s fastest runners in sophomore Henry Garvin, who recently took sixth in the Cotton Invitational behind several big-school runners.

The Gulls, however, will likely get most of their points in the throws.

Senior Parker Conrad and juniors Derrick Bennett and Luke Nelson will be capable of placing at or near the top in every meet.

First place will be a regular occurrence for throwers on the girls’ side.

Already signed to compete at Brigham Young University at the collegiate level, Hoekstre will likely add to her collection of first-place medals this year.

Meanwhile, Lilli Taylor will be a great addition for the Seaside throwers, in addition to any other events the talented freshman may try.

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