The kids are running the show

With young stars like Frank Cange and Jami Kouba, Lindbergh’s track team looks primed for sustained success.

With young stars like Frank Cange and Jami Kouba, Lindbergh’s track team looks primed for sustained success.

Cange, a sophomore, and Kouba, a freshman, are both in their first season of track and they’re already making waves in the Seamount League.

“They have a great combination of natural ability and good attitude,” said Lindbergh boys track coach Jef Rettmann. “They really push themselves and they’re very coachable. You can see it in their eyes that they’re listening to what you say.”

Cange runs the 100- and 200-meter races. He also jumps in the high jump, but the sprints are where he’s making his mark. Cange owns the fourth-best, 100-meter and third-best, 200-meter times in the Seamount League this season.

Despite his inexperience, Cange keeps things calm pre-race.

“I don’t get too nervous,” Cange said. “I’m just thinking about getting to the finish line, staying in my lane and trying not to concentrate too hard.”

The only other sophomore sprinter in the Seamount’s top five is Hazen’s Duncan Mackay (first in 200-meter, second in 100-meter). Cange said the two are friends off the track, but once they hit the starting blocks, the relationship changes.

“We socialize, we’re friends,” Cange said. “But when it comes to the race, it’s different. Then he’s the competition.”

Cange also plays on Lindbergh’s football team. In 2007 he rushed 16 times for 71 yards and added two receptions for five yards.

Cange said his goal for the track season is to make it to the 3A state meet. Cange’s top time in the 200-meter so far in 2008 is 23.26 seconds. Taking into account last year’s state times, he’ll likely need to shave off almost half a second from that time to comfortably make the state field. That is certainly possible, considering his youth and the fact that track coaches tend to work practices so players peak at the end of the season.

Kouba runs the 1600- and 3200-meter races and has different pre-race feelings.

“I get really nervous, I crack my knuckles and chew gum,” Kouba said. “But once the gun goes off, I just go into a zone.”

Kouba has steadily improved through the season. Her 1600-meter times have improved in every meet and are down 27 seconds overall. Her 3200-meter times have also improved every meet and are down 45 seconds overall.

“The mile is my favorite; I get bored during the 3200,” Kouba said.

Kouba’s goals for this season are to improve her 1600 time to the 5:20-5:30 range, her 3200 time to 12 minutes and to make it to state. Her current best times are 5:49 in the 1600 and 12:40 in the 3200.

“In a way they’re clueless,” Rettmann said. “They don’t really know what a good time is, they just go out there and compete.”

Cange and Kouba aren’t the only young starts on Lindbergh’s team. Sophomore Trevor Thompson has the Seamount’s fourth-best time in the 1600-meter, second-best time in the 3200-meter, and sixth-best time in the 800-meter. He has improved his 3200 time from 9:57 to 9:45 this season. That 9:45 mark would’ve placed 12th at last season’s state track meet (coincidentally, Thompson’s teammate, junior Matt Miland finished in 12th place at the 2007 state meet with a time of 9:46).

Thompson looks like he’ll be a force on the distance scene for some time. He also finished ninth in the 3A state cross country meet in 2007.

Other young runners making an impact for Lindbergh are sophomores Adam Freed and Devan Bickham in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races. Both are strong sprinters and Freed has a top-10 Seamount time in the 100-meter, at 11.70 seconds.

Lindbergh’s next meet is April 24 against Tyee at Renton Stadium.

Adam McFadden can be reached at or 425-255-3484, ext. 5054.

Lindbergh’s young, talented group gives team great outlook for 2008 season and beyond