The Wildcat boys track team returns a strong team this spring that includes a pair of state qualifiers and a Big 8 champ. The girls squad will be young but talented, and the Ladycats are expected to benefit from a strong group of leaders.
Boys track outlook
Senior Dylan Gibson, who has earned a reputation as one of the best discus throwers in the region, is back after qualifying for state last season. He will be joined by juniors Tyler Skinner and Adam Prier as some of the team's top throwers.
Gibson and Garrett Mahurin will handle the Wildcats' shot put duties with Derick Testerman out for the season with a knee injury. Justin Pflug and Montana Richter can also be expected to contribute.
Conference champion Jake Musser returns in the 110-hurdles. Trevor Shumaker is out for the season with an injury so Coach David Large will have to fill that void. Scott Marshall will be counted on to step up and compete in the hurdle events alongside Musser.
The jumpers will be led by senior Matt Angel, who qualified for state last spring in the high jump. Coach Large expects junior Devin Linenbrink to be a conference favorite in the long and triple jumps after a very strong year as a sophomore. Marshall Dupont, Zac Vititoe and Joseph Gouvion will also compete in jumps.
Angel will also pace the distance runners this year. He finished second in the Big 8 in the 800 last year. Gage Holloway also returns to run the 800 and the 4x800 relay. Willie Linenbrink and Taylor Dodson will compete in the 1,600 and 3,200.
The Wildcats return three of their top sprinters from the 2009 season in Gouvion, Josh Lewright and Dupont. That trio will handle the open sprints and make up the sprint relay teams along with Devin Linenbrink, Trent Tanner and Vititoe.
Girls track outlook
Coach Brian Wilbanks will be depending on a whole new group of athletes this spring after graduating a very large senior class.
The Ladycats return seven letterwinners with varsity experience. These athletes include senior Marti Richmiller, junior Tiffany Faughn, junior Jessica Barrientos, junior Risa Darveaux, sophomore Calisia Brookes, sophomore Danielle Pianalto and sophomore Reba Dupont.
Coach Wilbanks expects big things from Barrientos in the long distance events, Darveaux in the sprint events and Richmiller in the jumps.
"We are young, but we have some good runners," said Coach Wilbanks. "We are looking for a mid-conference finish and hope to have some individuals and relay success at districts.
"There are new leaders, and the girls put out a lot of effort," added Wilbanks.
The Wildcat boys and girls teams open the track season at McDonald County on Thursday.