Area track and field teams look to clear the bar
HIGH POINT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Coach: Heather Foster (sixth year); assistant Clay Fielding
Last year: Boys — finished second in the NCISAA PACIS 3A; Girls — finished fourth in the PACIS
Missing faces: Boys — Graduated 6 seniors and 6/8 on all-conference; Girls — Graduated 3 seniors
Familiar faces: Boys — Returning discus senior Rockhill Brown (all-conference). Junior standout David Loy returns in the 1600, 3200 and 4x800. All-conference 4x100 relay member sophomore Mark Kim will compete in the sprint relays. Senior Clay Lanier should be in the mix for conference title in the high jump after finishing second last year;
Girls — Sophomore Halle Hunt returns after winning the high jump last year in her first year of competing. Seniors Alexa Keaney and Catherine Phipps will provide depth in the sprint and middle distances, respectively. Returning distance runners junior Sara Marsh and freshmen Emily-Anne Ellas and Brooke Cerak will continue to improve in those events.
New faces: Boys — Lots of new faces this year, particularly in the sprint events. Juniors Trystan Gilmore and Nate Degraffinreaidt, Sophomores Malik Streeter and Braxton McIntyre and freshmen Davis Brazelle and Geoffrey Wall will add tremendous depth to our sprints as well as returning junior Joe Severs. Sophomore Wade Curlee will be a great addition in the middle distances. Senior Connor Flater, returning after a year away from track, will also be strong in the middle distances;
Girls — Junior Hannah Harrington looks to be our strongest sprinter and should compete in four events. Seventh-grader Tyra White is a versatile athlete who will compete in jumps, sprints and hurdles. Freshman Imani Stewart will also looks strong in the longer sprints and the jumps.
Expectations: Boys — Early in the season it’s difficult to determine strengths in all areas. Though we have more athletic talent than we’ve had in the last few years with the addition of the newcomers to the program, most of them are completely new to track. So, the learning process will be slow. I look for continued improvement throughout the season as we continue to teach fundamentals. We will have some obvious gaps in a few areas but hope to compete well in most events;
Girls: Again, we have several new faces in the program but only a few experienced in track. The lack of versatility and low numbers make it difficult to compete in every event, but I do expect to see improvement from last season.
What challenges face your team: Teaching the events from scratch and placing everyone in the right areas to get the best possible combination.
What would be a success for your team: For each athlete to develop a love and appreciation for the sport and the willingness to work hard daily to improve. With only four seniors on the boys side and three on the girls, as well as 14 boys in grades 7-9, we hope to be able to work with these kids for the next few years and see marked improvement.
HIGH POINT CENTRAL GIRLS
Coach: Ranicka Butler; assistant Benjamin Thomas
Last year: Finished fourth in the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference
No. of starters returning/lost: 4/2
Missing faces: Gabrielle Gray, Tevyn Jones
Familiar faces: senior Aliyah Riley (the team’s top sprinter and hurdler; placed fifth in the 100 meter hurdles in the 4A state meet), sophomore Kiana Scott, sophomore Mason Kepley (the team’s top miler and 800 meter runner; placed third in the regional with a PR of 2:19)
New faces: Malak Kafi (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Niara Jefferies (jumps, sprints), Carmen Dodson (400)
Expectations: The team is expected to compete for the PTC championship.
What does your team do best: Our team has good sprinters, hurdlers and mid-distance runners.
What challenges face your team: A lot of young runners. They will have to improve as the season progresses.
What would be a success for your team: To have each runner score in the conference meet.
WESLEYAN CHRISTIAN academy
Coach: Andy Thompson (two year), Ken Brown (one year); assistants Daniel Hogbin, Ben Vogler, Jonathan Sherbourne, Dusty Lucas
Missing faces: Zach Hostetler (800 meter, 1600 meter), Brian Gottwalt (3200 meter), Chris Kabrich (400 meter)
Familiar faces: Bradley Davis (1600, 3200), Michael Ashburn (3200, 1600), Ben Hostetler (800, 1600), Chris Peters (400), Caitlyn Michalski (high jump, 100, 200 hurdles), Olympia Rizos (100, 200), Holly Schallert (200, 400), Stephanie Fleeman (400), Kayla Graves (200), Krista Mackey (100, 200), Anna Nicklow (200, high jump)
New faces: Abby Auman (100, 200), Aubrey Thompson (400, 800), Donovan Gilmore (high jump, 300 hurdles, 200)
Expectations: Girls — contend for the PACIS championship; boys — first or second in the PACIS
What challenges face your team: Youth
What would be a success for your team: Overall improvement
WESTCHESTER COUNTRY DAY school
Coach: Tim Anderson (Second year); assistants LaShaw Henighan, Jeb Burns
Last year: Boys — TAC and NCISAA 2A champion; Girls — second place in TAC and third place in 2A (highest ever)
No. of starters returning/lost: Boys — 13/6; Girls — 6/1
Missing faces: Boys — Chris Anderson, Mike Bauman, George Frieberger; Girls — K. Watson
Familiar faces: Boys — senior Jeff Green (TAC champion — 400, 4x800, 4x400; state runner-up — 400; state champion — 4x800, 4x400), senior Walker Rose (state champion — 4x800, 4x400), senior Tyler Fairly (state champion — 4x400), senior Patrick Williford (leading distance runner), senior Jan Luehr (leading long jumper), Charlie Branson (leading high jumper)
Girls — senior Claire Councill (scored in two events at states), senior Olivia Greeson (scored in four events at states), eighth-grader Terra Johns (scored in four events at states), senior Leigh Tyson (scored in two events at states), eighth-grader Eliza Fisher (scored in two events at states)
New faces: Boys — sophomore Ryeong Choi (possible distance star in the making), Will Thomas (pole vaulter); Girls — Avery Goho (distance star in cross-country), Laney Henley (possible shot put star), Montana Heinbach (sprinter), Haleigh Breece (top five cross-country runner), Isi Nwamu (sprinter), Abbi Kahan (top cross-country runner)
Expectations: Boys — Win conference championship for second straight year, win state championship for third straight year; Girls — Compete for a conference title, finish top-3 in the state.
What does your team do best: Boys — Work hard every day, lots of competition within the team to excel, lots of senior leadership; Girls — Senior leadership and intense desire to compete at a high level.
What challenges face your team: Boys — Having everyone show up for practice daily and no injuries; Girls — Limit the injuries.
What would be a success for your team: Boys — To have the young kids continue to develop in their events and have a love for track and field; Girls — Continue to grow the number of girls on the track team.
Coach: Anne Popek, Mark Pitts
Last year: Boys Piedmont Triad 4A champions
No. of starters returning/lost: Everyone/0
Familiar faces: senior Xavier Jones (last year, seventh in the 200 and third in the 400 at the 4A state meet), senior Thomas Popek (fourth in the pole vault at the 4A state meet), senior Winston Craig (fourth in the discus at the 4A state meet) — all three were all-conference and all-state); seniors Patrick Clouse, CJ Gilchrist, Thusan Fernando and Kendell Fullmore; sophomores Katanna Cranford and Jewell Pratt
New faces: Freshmen Chetney Taylor, Joseph Popek and Chesney Ward
Expectations: Boys — first; Girls - third
What does your team do best: Small in numbers, big in performances.
What challenges face your team: Size.
What would be a success for your team: Boys — top 5 in outdoor state meet men; Girls — first or second in conference
Coach: Shawn Loggins (15 years); James Cassada (throws), Jason Lodle (assistant)
Last year: Finished second in the conference
Missing faces: Matt Polk (vault), Josh Vivod (throws)
Familiar faces: distance runner Anthony Hughes (Although he broke his foot during basketball, he should still be a big factor), Hudson Reynolds (throws), Miles Riddle (middle distance), Blake Lassiter (middle distance)
New faces: Josh Jackson (junior — Is showing signs of a breakthrough as a result of dedication and consistently applied hard work)
Expectations: We expect to make a run for the conference championship. We moved from fifth two years ago to second last year, so first is the only direction to go.
What does your team do best: Historically we’ve run middle to long distance best. With the addition of James Cassada working with our throwers, they are becoming a stronger asset.
What challenges face your team: As always, we are young. We always have a good number of freshmen and sophomore, but cars, gas, insurance and jobs to pay for all that really depleats us of juniors and seniors.
What would be a success for your team: Winning the conference and putting 10-plus athletes in the regionals. Winning the county meet over North and Central would be a good win as well.
Coach: Robert Youtz, (eight years); Dwight Jacobs, Lee Coble, Holly Pellitteri
Last year: Boys — finished fourth in the Northwest 1A/2A; Girls — finished third in the NWC
Missing faces: Boys — John Scott, Daniel Kammire, Patrick O’Shea, Brian Jordan; Girls — Kathryn Bennett, Arden Tritt, Sawyer Thomas
Familiar faces: Boys — junior Joe McNamara (top returning sprinter on the team), junior Greg Salomon (one of the better sprinters on the team), junior Sam Williams (top distance runner, state qualifier), senior Zach Bruns (state qualifier), senior Leland Lancaster (state qualifier); Girls — junior Maria Kammire (top sprinter, state qualifier where she finished third in the 400), senior Kylie Boyle (one of our better sprinters), junior Carly Kreber (top distance runner, state qualifier in the 4x8 & 1600), junior Bailey Seach (top middle distance runner in the 800), junior Brianna Eichhorn (top middle distance runner in the 800)
New faces: Boys — Jimmy King, Derek Wright, Brandon Mason, Justin Lechner; Girls — Sarah Grace Johnson
What challenges face your team: Boys — Staying injury free and finding more field event participants; Girls — Not as many girls came out this year so we are short on numbers and trying to fill most events.
What would be a success for your team: Boys — Competing at conference and finishing in the top 2-3, qualifying as many as we can to state and having some all-state members; Girls — Finishing in the top four at conference, having some conference champs and some all-state members.
Coach: Ira Cumpton (10 years); Steve Bare, Craig Clodfelter, Dennis Yocum
Last year: 10-5, finished third in the Central Carolina 2A, regional runner-up
No. of starters returning/lost: 20/6
Missing faces: Brooke Ward, Tiana Thomas and Brittany Ramsey (conference, county and regional 4x100 champion, placed fifth in the state); Niara Jefferies (sprints, relays), Nautica Friday (4x200 relay, long and triple jumps)
Familiar faces: junior Precious Curry and sophomore Kiara Lawson (4x200 conference champion, regional and state qualifier), junior Jashana Thomas (long and triple jump, regional and state qualifier), sophomore Monique Tuttle (shot put, regional qualifier), junior Kayla Mock (4x100, conference, county, regional champion, fifth place in state)
New faces: Will need large group of sophomore and juniors to step in and fill in the events this year.
Expectations: Need to strengthen our distance running to be a challenger for the conference title.
What does your team do best: Our sprint relays and jumping events have been our best.
What challenges face your team: Long distance has been a real challenge.
What would be a success for your team: For each athlete to improve in his or her event as the track season progresses.
— COMPILED BY MICHAEL LINDSAY