WACO girls return three state qualifiersWarrior boys are low on numbers, but capable of covering many different events
The WACO boys’ track and field team is a small group, but the athletes who are competing cover a wide variety of events. On the girls’ side of the team, the Warriors are young, but hope to gain experience as they participate in many different events.
Cinda Blake is taking the helm of the girls’ team for the first season after serving three years as an assistant coach.
She and the boys’ coach, Shannon Rugg, will be assisted this season by Justin Chambers, as well as volunteer coaches Denny White, Scott Meth and Brady Farrington.
The girls’ team returns three state qualifiers from last season in junior Rosemary Skriver and sophomores Gaby Wagler and Jennie Greene.
Skriver made state in the high jump, while Wagler and Greene made up half of the state-qualifying 4x800-meter relay team.
The team graduated the other two 4x800 runners, Madison Roth and Brooke Hammond. Hammond was also a state qualifier as an individual in the open 800, and she placed 15th at state in that event.
But the team does return quite a few other letterwinners, including seniors Morgan Dugger and Sara Conwell, juniors Kaila Leichty, Jaelyn Unternahrer, Katelyn White and Jordan Rodgers, and sophomores Erika Leichty, Aaliyah Brown, Jalyssa Jepson and Leah McElhinney.
They also welcome three freshmen — Angel Frier, Kaitie Miles and Libby Skriver — and four sophomores — Cheyanne Sedlacek, Tribily Frier, Samantha Stacy and Stefani Aerni — who are new to varsity track and field, and all are expected to play key roles for the Warriors this season.
“We only have two seniors, so we are a young team,” Blake said.
She estimates that the young group will be strong in high jump and in sprinting, but will need to work on their throwing events and long distance races.
“I believe we should be able to fill most of the events at each meet and gain experience in doing so,” Blake said. “We need to build confidence in our abilities and trust our training.”
On the boys’ side, their biggest weakness is a simple lack of athletes.
“We only have 16 kids out for track,” Rugg said.
However, there is a bright side.
“It is a good mix of sprinters and distance runners,” Rugg noted. “Although we are a young group, we will rely on are senior leaders to show us the way.”
The team has four seniors in Tyler Ayers, Klinton Garrett, Kevin Anderson and newcomer Ben Fear.
“Tyler (Ayers) will be a kid that does everything from sprints to 800s for us,” Rugg said. “Klinton (Garrett) will run 400s and 800s, and Kevin (Anderson) will be in high jump and sprints, along with being a hurdler.”
The only junior out for the team is Dylan Carlson, who is a hurdler and sprinter.
Sophomore Brett Hesseltine and freshman Bryce Achen will also sprint and hurdle, and other sprinters are sophomore Treavor Lynn and freshmen Justyn Chalupa and John Gerdly.
Sophomore Braden Blake joins Garrett in the 400s and 800s, and freshman Jorge Chacone will take care of the distance events.
Covering the throwing events for the Warriors are sophomore Josh Shumaker and freshman Alden Hartsler.
“The strengths for us are sprints and hurdles, along with Garrett and Blake in the 800,” Rugg said.