Mountainside is rising behind (from left) Grace Saxton, Isabelle Carrington, Anna Miller, Cierra Thompson and Shalee Gonzalez.
Mountainside is rising behind (from left) Grace Saxton, Isabelle Carrington, Anna Miller, Cierra Thompson and Shalee Gonzalez.

For Mountainside's track teams, every weekend offers a chance to make some history.

The new Beaverton school, in just its second year and still without any seniors, is still in the process of establishing a culture and set of expectations around its track and field program.

On Saturday at the Wilsonville Invitational, the Mavericks broke an extraordinary 14 school records and tied two others.

It was a new high-water mark for a fast-growing team, topped by the girls' victory in the 4x400 relay at the end of the meet. The quartet of Cierra Thompson, Isabelle Carrington, Anna Miller and Shalee Gonzalez -- three freshmen and a sophomore -- clocked 4:02.16. That's the third-fastest time in the state behind Jesuit and Oregon City.

"It's really exciting to know that we can make it to state, potentially," Thompson said. "It's even better when you are a new school and showing out."

Under head coach Grant Piros, the track program at Mountainside (located near the intersection of Scholls Ferry Road and Roy Rogers Road) has expanded from 170 students in 2018 to 275 this year.

"It's been a lot of fun," Piros said. "We have an all-school culture that's about getting kids involved in activities of all kinds."

In track, a young and hungry group knows that there is an opportunity to fill up the school's "all-time" top 10s lists.

Piros said one of the early program highlights came earlier this year when a crowd gathered around to watch sophomore Marcus Mercer scale 12 feet in the pole vault in a home meet. (On Saturday, he upped his own school record by making 12-3).

At Wilsonville, the girls' 4x400 relay probably set the new standard for achievement.

"We wanted to do our best," said Miller, who broke school records in the 100 and 200 on Saturday. "Basically it was just about competing as hard as we could."

Entering the Metro League, full of perennial powerhouse programs, is no easy task. In Year One, freshman Grace Saxton nearly qualified for state in the 400 meters after placing fourth in the district final.

This year, Mountainside's hopes of producing state qualifiers are becoming even more realistic.

"There's the physical part (of the program) with a nice new school and facility, but also there is an opportunity to be one of the top athletes in the school," Saxton said. "You can set school records and move on from there."

Assistant coach Dan Sagers, who coaches the 4x400 team, said the process of breathing life into the new school's track and field timeline has been rewarding.

"It's a blast," Sagers said. "You get to set a culture and establish expectations from scratch. It's a really fun thing to start a program from scratch. We're in the top district in the state, but (the 4x400 team) has risen to the challenge."

Wilsonville Invitational Meet Results

Doug Binder is the editor of