Cassville High School boys and girls track teams opened the 2006 season at the Cassville Wildcat warm-up relays on Tuesday. Both squads boast strong numbers and youthful enthusiasm.
"Our numbers are great with 42 boys out for track," said David Large, head boys coach.
Senior Kyle Bishop and junior Nick Pianalto are expected to be two of the best track athletes in southwest Missouri this spring. Last year, Bishop finished fourth at state in the high jump.
"We are young in some areas but talented," added Large.
Young is right, as there are 24 sophomore and freshmen on the team with the remaining 18 squad members split between four seniors and 14 juniors.
The seniors are among the returning starters, which include Bishop, high jumper; Dakota Russell, thrower; Matt Boles, thrower, and Gordon Grimm, thrower. The remaining return-ing starters are juniors and include: Nate Evans, sprinter; Michael Baker, sprinter; Brian Elkins, sprinter; Trey Phillips, sprinter; Jeremy Archuleta, sprinter; Nick Pianalto, thrower; Aaron Carr, thrower, and A.J. Lee, thrower.
The Wildcats' returning lettermen include: junior Josh Rambo, pole vault; and sophomores Colt Beck, jumper, Phillip Cooper, sprinter, and Devan Scroggins, pole vault.
Top prospects for the team include: juniors Chris Born, Jared Bouzek, Justin Nosler, Ellison Thao and Hector Valenzuela; sophomores Zac Coleman, Jacob Gouvion, Dale Henbest, Boomer Maben, Levi Mounce, Ryan Schlichtman, Billy Wright, Jacob Creason, Anthony Carson, Cody Lee, Phillip Richmiller and Tyler Smith; and freshmen Curt Baker, Austin Carlson, Ethan Couch, Brent Elkins, Jon Haney, Corey Wilbanks, J.R. Woodruff, Tyler Hammond and Andrew Oden.
Jay Rogers and Jim WillOutlook good for track teamsiams will assist Coach Large.
This year, the Cassville Ladycats track team will be led by several talented returning starters. They include: Brittney Vollenweider, discus; sophomore Ron'L Hoff, long distance and sprinter; sophomore Brittany Wilbanks, long distance and sprinter; sophomore Destiny Massey, hurdles; and sophomore Tammy Bell, thrower and sprinter.
Returning lettermen include: juniors Anna Niedzwiedi and Jerryca Stanford.
Other members of the squad include: senior Melissa Weatherman; juniors Kyleigh Houston, Maria Ayala and Sara Henson; sophomores Misty Long, Vikki Mannix, Hannah Miller and P.J. Musser; and freshmen Leah Jones, Courtney Beagle, Whitney Willard, Stacie Rambo, Paige Hukill, Ariel Abramovitz, Tia Baker, Krista Bennett, Kyra Asbury, Cheyenn Essley, Shaliah Allen and Melanie Underwood.
"Our sheer numbers and participation in each event should bolster our points at each meet," said Brian Wilbanks, girls head coach. "We should fare well in many of the long distance events and individually at the discus. We have many athletic girls who just need to get into shape. Our results should increase throughout the season, bar injuries."
Wilbanks will be assisted by Jay Rogers.