Track and field mixes new and returning athletes to strive for State competition


Ginny Lyons

A group of runners participates in a time trial, the 600-meter run, at a recent practice.

The spring seasons are upon us, and this means that track and field athletes are going outside amid the beautiful weather, running around the track, lifting weights with coach Joe Creer on the turf, or jumping hurdles with coach Jim Wander.  The track and field team started practicing the first week before spring break, but after the break is now especially in full force.

There are many hopes after losing a few seniors last year.  Junior captain Eric Wilson participates mostly in the field activities, like the shot put.  Having a fairly new team, Wilson hopes that his team will build as the season continues on.  “Sean McCullough is looking to come out this year who will be [a] big addition to the team.  We will get a lot better as the season goes on due to the rebuilding factor after the loss of Hunter Downey who was a key member of our team last year,” Wilson said.

On the other side of the sport, the runners have a similar situation.  Senior captain Bill Lichliter does more of the running events than Wilson does.  They look as though they are having a few important athletes coming back to the team with the loss of one important senior in Jalen Floyd.  The team hopes that his younger brother, Ricky, can fill Jalen’s shoes.  Lichliter is also striving to have a breakout year this season, pushing to make it through to the state competitions.  “If [junior Ricky Floyd] can complete the season, he could be a big factor for our team just like his brother was the year before.  Hopefully, I can make my way to state through the long jump this year, but it will be tough,” Lichliter said.

The girls, however, are sitting in a different type of position.  Senior captain Mae Fullerton hopes to carry the team this year as a returning state competitor.  Last season she finished third in the state for the 1600-yard run.  Last year, girls’ track had a young team and they are hoping the team can be a lot stronger and more mature than the previous season.  “It should be an exciting season because everyone is stronger.  I’m hoping to improve my mile time before the big meets too.  Along with that, I think Tracy Renier will keep getting faster and I know Claudia Elsenbast will kill it in the 3200 as usual,” Fullerton said.

The track itself is open but some practices are still being held inside for now, due to cold temperatures.  But it won’t be long until you see a swarm of track members on the old stadium field racing each other daily on comfortably warm days.  Hopefully, both the boys’ and girls’ teams build throughout the year, pushing together to make it to the state competitions.