The 2019 Hillsboro Indians and Lady Indians track and field teams will both be evaluating younger talent this season while also trying to compete with the upperclassmen as they finish their high school careers.
Hillsboro boys Head Coach Bud Marsh knows that he has a challenge ahead with a roster that is chock full of young, developing runners.
“This year we have a few upperclassmen but, we are loaded with freshmen and sophomores,” Marsh said. “Some of the younger kids will be pretty decent. We have some sophomores that are returning letter men and we are looking for good things out of them.”
The Indians will be leaning on the 11 seniors on the roster to provide leadership for the younger boys on the roster.
“The upperclassmen, we are just looking for the leadership there. We have some quality kids there too,” said Marsh.
Marsh stressed that it is impossible to tell how the younger athletes will develop from one year to the next, “It is hard to say; especially with the younger kids you don’t know. Even from last year to this year you don’t know how they are going to step up. In years past the younger athletes have done a good job of stepping up but its still early. With the weather it is kind of hard to see where they are at this early in the year.”
One thing Marsh it sure that will not have an issue with from the boys on the roster this season is their willingness to put in the work required to get better.
“They are working hard, really pleased with their work habits,” Marsh said. “This is one of the better teams I have had with their work ethic.”
Senior Ty Alexander will be a key cog for the Indians this season as a sprinter and potentially a middle distance runner and Quinn Conlon, who is also a senior this year, will be a key contributor for Marsh and the Indians this year as a hurdler and high jumper.
Deon Burns is a name that is familiar to fans of Hillsboro Football and coach Marsh has seen a tremendous improvement from Burns in the preseason and is expecting the senior to have a good year in the shot put and discus.
Junior Draven Stodgel was a State qualifier in the shot put and discus last season and, according to Marsh, has already topped his personal best from last season in practices.
On the girls side Lady Indians Head Coach Anthony Amore wants his team to continue to improve this season and he has set goals for the girls this year including winning at least one invitational as a team this year.
The Lady Indians registered their first invitational under the watch of Amore last season when they took home the top trophy at the Hillsboro Invitational.
“We won our home invitational last season and we are definitely aiming for a repeat of that with the girls this season,” said Amore.
The Lady Indians will have four seniors on this season’s roster with Molly McCreary and Maddie King competing in the running events and Kelsey Burns and Kailey Dietrick will be taking part in the shot put and discus events for the team.
Amore has high expectations for McCreary and spoke highly of her talent and the position that she has put the Lady Indians distance program in with her success.
“Molly is a key reason that the distance program is in a good place,” said Amore. “Her hard work and the work of coach Anthony Carson are both huge reasons why the distance program is making a comeback for us.”
The teams are scheduled to have four home meets this season and three are scheduled for the moth of April.
The first home meet for the Indians and Lady Indians will be Tuesday, March 26, when they host Washington High School.
Then on Tuesday, April 2, Hillsboro will welcome McClain and Adena for a tri meet. The Indians and Lady Indians will host the Hillsboro Invitational on April 18 and the final home meet of the season for both teams will be April 30 when they host Wilmington High School.
Ryan Applegate is the Sports Editor for The Times-Gazette. Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.