• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS track teams ready to run into 2016 season

JORDAN CROWE returns this year to run the hurdle events for the Woodford County High School girls’ track team. The track teams open their season at home this Saturday, March 19, in the Luck ‘O the Irish meet. (File photo by Rick Capone)

The Woodford County High School girls’ and boys’ track teams have been working hard during the offseason in preparation for the 2016 season, and they are more than ready to get the season underway. “We’ve had an exceptional winter workout session,” said Woodford head track coach Tracey Sobolewski. “The kids have really stepped up and done a great job. So, we’re excited to see how everything comes together because we’ve had probably the best ‘indoor’ workout season that we’ve ever had. So, that’s exciting. “I’m thrilled for the kids,” she continued. “We kind of challenged them and asked them to step up and be responsible for themselves, and it’s been real good. I think they should see the benefit of what they’ve been doing.” One of the highlights for the team this year is a brand new track, which was installed at the high school during the offseason and, for which, Sobolewski and her athletes are very thankful to school’s Superintendent Scott Hawkins and the Board of Education for their help in getting it put in place. “It’s fabulous,” said Sobolewski. “We had it marked a little bit differently. They’re marking tracks differently now. So, we’re completely up to date with the markings. Of course, the quality and the cushioning; the kids are thoroughly enjoying running on it. And, we really feel like we’re going to keep (athletic trainer) Walker (Terhune) less busy this year, because usually, by now, we’ve already got kids complaining about shin splints, and we haven’t had a one. Not a one.” As the season gets started this Saturday, March 19, at 10 a.m. at home in the Luck O’ the Irish meet, Woodford will be without two of their top stars who graduated last year – Chelsey Ford, who dominated the discus and shotput, and Keenon Laine, who was always exciting to watch while winning the high jump competitions. Still, even with the loss of those two consistent winners, Sobolewski believes both her girls’ and boys’ teams have a lot of talented athletes who will help the team score a lot of wins this season. “We’re anticipating some pretty good competition,” said Sobolewski about both of her teams. “We have a lot of juniors, but even amongst those juniors, (there are) some names that we haven’t seen before. So, we’re still a little bit on edge as to exactly what we have. But, I think we’re going to be more competitive than we had thought.” On the girls’ side, Sobolewski believes the team will be strong in the sprint and field events. However, the team just doesn’t have the “numbers” in the distance events like they had in the past, so she is looking for athletes to step up and perform in those events. On the boys’ side, she said, “Right now we’re starting to look fairly strong across the board. We’ve had a few guys that have decided to come out. Our distance guys have been working hard and looking good. I’m not sure about depth there. We might struggle a little with some of the relays (due to depth). (But), we’re looking real solid on both sides of it.” Here is an outlook of the girls’ and boys’ teams this year. Girls’ Team In the sprint relays (4x100 meter and 4x200 meter), seniors Brooke Stilwell, Kennedy Reister and Natalie Grenfell, along with sophomore Mackenzie Thomas will be the main runners. However, there are also some new girls, such as junior Dakota Addams and freshmen Jasmine Collins, Esther Bradshaw, Savannah Karbach and Breanna Willis who might also step up and run in the events. “This is where the excitement is because they’re all very capable,” said Sobolewski. “… They’re all new to the team this year, and there’s going to be a lot of competition there.” In the girls’ 4x400 relay, Sobolewski is looking to Grenfell, who is a strong 400-meter runner; Stilwell, who is the team’s No. 1 400-meter runner; Addams and Karbach, to run strong in the event. Then in the 4x800, Sobolewski has junior Jodie Smith, senior Miriam Gonzalez and sophomore Turner Reynolds all returning and running in the race. There are also some new girls coming in, such as freshmen Sissy Spasova and Kylie Claridge, that will vie for a spot on the relay team. In the individual sprints (100 meter and 200 meter), there are returners Grenfell, Reister and sophomore Mackenzie Thomas. Also competing to participate in the events are Collins, Addams, Bradshaw, Karbach and freshman Breanna Willis. In addition, juniors Sydney Smith, Kelsey Thomas, and Ziggy Washington, and sophomores Kristen Jordan and Rachel Tyra will run in the 100-meter and 200- meter sprints, as well as the sprint relays. In the 400, Grenfell and Stilwell will be the top runners, while Addams and Karbach will also run at times. Then in the 800, Smith, Reynolds and Gonzalez will be the key competitors for Woodford. In addition, Smith will run the long distance races. Also, junior Sonca Nguyen, and sophomores Karla Garcia and Maricela will run in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter races. In the hurdles, Jordan Crowe returns and will be a strong competitor in the event. Addams, who ran hurdles in middle school, might run in some of the races as well. In the field events, senior Audrey Ward returns in the high jump with a lot of experience and should do very well this year. In the shot put and discus, freshman Xarley Chavez will participate in both events and, according to Sobolewski, has set a personal goal to work hard to try and make her mark in the events like Ford did in her career. Then in the long jump, juniors Jessica Smith and Shelby Dearing will be Woodford’s main competitors. Willis also might try to participate in some of the events. As for the pole vault, Sobolewski is not sure who will participate in that event at this time. Boys’ Team In the boys’ sprint relays (4x100 meter and 4x200 meter), Woodford returns junior Dwayne “D” Depp as the team’s top sprinter. In addition to juniors Domynik Johnson and Malik Richards, and sophomore Jai Burgess will run the event. Also, juniors Aaron Shrout, Tristan Ferrell and Keegan Elvidge might see some time as well. Shrout and Ferrell might also do 4x400. “It’s fun when the guys … start competing to want to run (the 4x400), because it’s the last race of the meet,” said Sobolewski. “It’s always exciting.” As to the 4x800 meter relay, according to Sobolewski, it will come down to team depth. “We might have some meets where we don’t have a 4x800 depending on who we have, and if we want them concentrating on their two-mile,” she said. “For some of those guys, it’s kind of tough to run an 800 (relay), another 800 and a two-mile.” As for the individual sprints (100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter), Depp, Johnson, Richards and Burgess will be the key runners, with Elvidge mostley running the 400 meter. Also, seniors Josh Finley, Austin Kennedy, and Justin O’Nan, juniors Robert Smith and Matheus Gomes, and sophomores Seth Lewis, Parker Raybourne, and Landon Saum will run in the 200-meter and 400-meter events. Three other runners, senior Gerardo Garcia, and freshmen Alex Morgan and Drew Ritchie will run the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints. Morgan and Ritchie will also compete in the long jump. “On the guys’ side, it’s kind of interesting, (as) we don’t have guys that are as interested in the 100 (this year); it’s 200/400 this year,” said Sobolewski. “That’s interesting,” as they are usually fighting over who will run the 100 meter. “I think Dom might be doing the hundred more.” Senior Will Miller, sophomores Peter McGowan and Luke Caldwell, and freshman Abran Santos will be the runners participating in the 800-meter race. Though, according to Sobolewski, they might switch events from time to time between the 800, the mile and the two mile. Also, sophomores Alex Sowder, Sam Eagen and Blake Adams will run in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs. In addition, Miller, a stalwart on the cross country team, will run the long-distances races. In the hurdles, junior Nick Lamb will run in those races. In the field events, junior Sam Martin and senior Brandon Brookfield return to take on the pole vault. “They’ve both been working hard,” said Sobolewski. “This is Brandon’s senior year, so he’s worked real hard. So, they’ll do real well.” Sophomore Jordan Upton and Burgess will be taking on the long jump and triple jump. Also, senior Sam Welling is coming back to participate in the long jump, while Upton will also participate in the triple jump. In the shot put, juniors Justin Brown and Matt Jones will compete in that event, while juniors Darnell Richard and Matthew Denham, and sophomore Collin Hudson will participate in the discus. Also participating in the discus and shot put events will be junior D’Andre Sanchez and freshman Colton Clark. As for the high jump, Sobolewski is still looking for athletes to participate in the event.

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