2012 track preview
What can they do for an encore? Winners of the last two Wyoming Class 2A state track titles, the Lovell Lady Bulldogs will go for a three-peat this spring, and this year they will be joined in the quest by the Lovell boys, who placed third at State last spring but are gunning for the top this season.
New head coach Joshua Sanders and his staff are working with 64 athletes this spring – 26 girls and 38 boys – and he said the sheer numbers are a challenge to the staff.
“We’ve got a lot of numbers,” Sanders said. “That makes coaching track an adventure. It’s not just about the big numbers, you have many events to work with.”
Josh Sanders will handle the long and triple jumps, hurdles and high jump, brother Caleb the middle (400 meters and up) distance runs and relays and Daniel Robertson the pole vault and sprints. Volunteer assistants include veteran throwing coach Chad Lindsay, Bob Weber (high jump) and Mykel Anderson (pole vault).
“Whenever you can get help, that’s good, especially with a sport like track where there are so many events,” Sanders said. “All of those coaches are excellent. They’re a good group of coaches. And not only are they good, they love track and field.”
The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will travel to Cody Saturday for the Yellowstone Sports Medicine Invitational. Both running and field events begin at 10:30 a.m.
The following week will take the Lovell squad to Basin for the Riverside Invitational on Friday, March 30, at 2:30 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs will be shooting for their third straight state championship this season, and although they lost major point-getter Karen Koritnik to graduation, they have good firepower returning.
“In general we have a good group of girls who will help us in a lot of areas,” Sanders said. “We have girls coming back who competed in indoor track and can help us in outdoor.”
State placers returning include sophomore Kim Shumway, who won the 200, 400 (school record) and 1,600 meters and was a member of the championship 1,600-meter relay team that set a new school record. She may add the long jump to her repertoire, Sanders said.
Also returning is sister Susie Robertson, a senior who won the 800 at State and set a school record at Regionals. Robertson also placed second at State in the 400 and third in the high jump and joined Kim on the 4×400 relay team, along with Koritnik and Alyssa Geiser, a senior who also was a member of the fourth-place sprint relay (4×100) team with Kassidy Hetland, Chelsey Ellis and Jodi Walker. Hetland was a regional champion in the 100-meter dash.
Walker, a senior, returns after placing third in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump at State, as does senior Miranda Griffis, who placed third at State in the discus and set a new school record in the process.
Coming back after a strong indoor season are senior Schuylar Davis in the throws and junior Meryk McArthur in the distance races. McArthur also might hurdle, Sanders said.
“We do have some girls from the freshman class who will be able to add some strength for us,” Sanders added.
Can the Lady Bulldogs win a state title again?
“We have a goal. We want to take State again,” Sanders said. “I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but that’s the objective. That’s the goal. It’s more difficult than it has been in the past. But that would be great.”
Lovell outscored Lingle 143-84 in 2010 and Lusk 116-70 a year ago.
Boys team huge
The Lovell boys are primed to challenge for a state title, as well, Sanders said, after placing second behind Wind River two years ago and third behind Pine Bluffs and Lusk last season.
“There’s no guarantee, but we do have that goal to win State,” Sanders said. “It’s going to be difficult. Pine Bluffs is a tough team, and there are some other tough teams, too.
“I feel like we have strength in most areas, but we need to get stronger in the sprints and hurdles. I hope we can strengthen that up a little bit. If not, we’ll have to go deeper in other events.
State placers returning include senior AJ Montanez, who won both the shot put and discus at State, and junior Cody Savage, who won the triple jump, placed third in the long jump and ran in the fifth-place 4×400 relay team with Mark Grant, Dino Collins and Kaleb Leithead.
Also returning is senior Collin McArthur, who placed second in the 1,600 meters, second in the 3200 and fourth in the 800 and ran a leg of the third-place 3,200-meter relay team with Leithead, Darren Ballard and Kenneth Moncur, all three of whom graduated.
Sanders said senior Colin May might add some field events after a successful junior season that saw him place sixth in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at State, and senior Morgan Baxendale returns with a seventh-place medal on his wall in the triple jump and a regional championship in the high jump. Also back is sophomore Kade Englert, who placed eighth at State in the long jump and had a strong indoor season in the high jump.
Junior Nathan Grant won the pole vault at the regional meet, though he didn’t place at State.
By David Peck