Editor's Note: In the print version of this story, the cutline for the photo should have read: "Troy’s Brittany Nensel (left) clears a hurdle during competition last year in Troy."
The Trojan track and field season has kicked off, with competitions right around the bend for the Troy Buchanan athletes.
The first meet of the season is coming up at Fort Zumwalt West on March 23, and the following Saturday they will go to Holt.
“We have a pretty heavy schedule as far as meets, Holt is a huge meet,” coach Lane Carl said.
The team has been running through time trials, and though weather has not been the team’s “best friend,” Carl said preparations for upcoming meets have been going well.
“We’ve been able to get outside and start battling,” Carl said. “We’ve got some mentally tough kids and have a big squad right now, I think our numbers are lingering right around 115.”
The Trojans typically do better in the throwing and distance events, but Carl said they graduated a lot of the big performers in both categories.
This leaves a lot of younger students, but Carl said she thinks the team is going to be “young and talented.”
Sarah Schultz, a junior, is the only returner from state last year.
She’s also the school record-holder in the javelin event.
Jacob Ferguson is throwing the disc again; Carl said Ferguson just barely missed making sectionals last year, and was already throwing bigger numbers in this year’s pre-season.
“We’re looking for him to do big things.” Carl said.
Joey Patton is participating in the shot put, and is one to watch in that event.
The students in the running events are trending on the young side as well, but the talent is still there.
The girls 4x200 relay team made sectionals last year, and all four students are back.
Three of those are sophomores (Natalie Sullivan, Gwen Hammond and Morgan Vandeven), and one is a senior (Emilie Rossmiller).
“Natalie Sullivan made it to sectionals last year in three events, she made it in the open 400, the open 200 and the 4x2, so as a sophomore her coming back, she’s just going to help us all over the track,” Carl said.
Other kids with big potential include Dalton Eikel, who has the potential to make state in the high jump; Jacob Love, a sophomore long jumper who has consistently been hitting 18s and freshman Brody Orf, who made state in cross country, and could bring some distance potential to the team in the mile.
“He [Orf] already told me the other day, he goes ‘coach, my goal is under five,’” Carl said. “I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a boy distance runner just say that with such confidence, I was like, ‘this is awesome.’”
The spread of talent gives the team the chance to compete in all areas and not only focus on a couple events.
“We are legitimately trying to get these kids to compete at everything, so we’ve really dialed down and tuned in our on-track training as far as our different groups and subgroups…we’re just trying to make all of our kids better athletes,” Carl said.