MILTON-FREEWATER — Friday’s 78th McLoughlin High School’s Carnival of Speed won’t be Pioneer coach Stacie Pickler’s first.
But it will be her first as Mac-Hi’s head track and field coach.
The 2002 Weston-McEwen grad and current Mac-Hi health and physical education teacher, took over the position from longtime Pioneer head coach John Milleson this season after four years as Milleson’s assistant.
And she loves her new assignment.
“It’s absolutely awesome!” Pickler said Wednesday afternoon as she oversaw her Pioneer team’s practice at Shockman Field. “It’s a challenge. I compare it to my first year of teaching. But it’s been a really good experience so far!”
Pickler, who ran distance events at Weston-McEwen and then two years at Linfield before transferring to Portland State and earning her master’s degree at Eastern Oregon, welcomes 24 teams and about 625 athletes to Shockman Field for the Carnival Friday. Field events begin at 11 a.m., track at noon.
That’s up from 19 teams last year.
On hand will be area schools W-M, Walla Walla Valley Academy, DeSales, Waitsburg-Prescott and Dayton, as well as host Mac-Hi.
Key Pioneers to keep an eye on include Jesus Saldana in the pole vault, Josie Lonai in distance events and relays, Kristi Childers in hurdles and relays, Tristan Warne in hurdles, and Avery Wells in the javelin, Pickler said.
“We’re hoping for good weather,” the new head coach said.