Hillsboro track coach Bud Marsh said he’s looking at a strong team in regard to field events going into the spring season, thanks to two talented seniors who soared to success during the indoor track season — but when it comes to his runners, he said, we’ll just have to wait and see.
“The goal every year is to compete for the league championship,” Marsh told The Times-Gazette, “and with this being the last year of the SCOL, there’s a little more meaning. That’s our goal, and the kids seem to be enthused about getting started, and they’re working towards that.”
In addition to the league title, Marsh said, he hopes several team members can push through districts and regionals for a return to the state tournament.
Marsh said his two top performers are Jeremy Hayton, who won the state indoor high jump title during the winter season, and Austin Goolsby, who finished out the state indoor tournament as a runner-up in pole vault.
“Austin didn’t do as well as he expected at the state indoor meet, but he’s vaulted 16’2” indoor and there’s only one other in the state who has vaulted higher than that,” he said. “Those are our top two right now.”
Both are also powerful long jumpers, he added, and they’re looking forward to developing their technique in the outdoor season.
In addition to Hayton and Goolsby, Marsh said Dion Burns, now a sophomore, was one of the top freshman last season in shotput and discus, and is looking for an even better year.
Freshman Mark Gallimore will also compete in pole vault to put a younger face on the Indians’ field game.
“We’re going to be really strong in the field events,” Marsh said. “We’ve been competitive in other areas, but lacking in shot and disc, so now we’re looking for that. Long jump, pole vault, high jump and shot and disc are going to be some of the top ones this year if everybody develops, barring injuries.”
In terms of running, Marsh said the new blood is hard to predict.
“We know what we have returning, but we’re not sure what we’ve got in terms of new ones,” Marsh said. “They have potential, but until they get out there, it’s hard to estimate.”
In short-distance runs, senior Luke Delmor and juniors Austin Campbell and Britton Haines will provide some experience, while freshmen Gallimore and Draven Stogel will serve as key newcomers.
For middle-distance, Ty Alexander returns after a strong freshman year, although he’s currently coming back from an ACL surgery after a soccery injury, Marsh said.
“He’s wanting to do more, but we’re wanting to take it slow,” he said.
In longer runs, sophomore Bailey Luccerello and senior Mica Pinnie show promise.
As always, unpredictable spring weather will play a role in the team’s practice success, Marsh said.
“You never know what you’re going to get into,” he said. “There have been a few years when it’s been cool or windy… We’re a little bit behind on our specialty areas and things like that, just because of the weather and not being able to get out there because of the cold and wet.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.