Track and field enters new season with conference championship behind it


The 2019 track and field season kicks off with a boys conference championship in the books. Looking ahead, this season has some stellar athletes on both sides of the team. Most of the younger runners are the ones to keep eyes on throughout the season.

“We are looking for big things from our incoming freshmen,” head coach Joel Harner said. “We are expecting Sam Yeager, Rhosias Arius, and Connor Milton to contribute early.”

The boys have some exceptional members this year. Senior returner Ryan Talbot is hot off of a State Championship for indoor track in the pole vault. He is looking to earn a State title for the outdoor season this year as well. Senior Geoffrey Batterbee is competing in the 800 this year and is projected to take a conference title with that. Junior Patrick Ho is also aiming for States in the 200 and 400, as well as senior Kai Hagadorn, who also looks for a place at States in the 400.

“On the guys team, we have a lot of guys returning and a good group of first-year runners; we look to defend the conference title,” Harner said. “For the ladies team, we are in need of more sprinters in the mid-distance and the distance group looks ready to go after a 4 x 800 spot at States.”

The biggest competition standing in the way of winning another conference title is Northern and Greenville.

“I am thinking that our biggest competition will be against Greenville,” junior Dylan Wilson said. “Last year, we tied for first place in the conference against them, so the goal would be to beat them this year.”

The girls have some very strong competitors as well. They have a standout mid-distance group of junior Nicole Marco and seniors Courtney McAlindon and Susannah Bennett. The 4 x 800 team has a good chance of qualifying for States with some big names being freshman Rachel Marco and sophomore Emma Hansen. The field side of the team has senior Diane Sietsema with shot put, discus, and high jump. The team also has stud senior pole vaulter, Kelsey Becker.

“[Kelsey and Diane] both have done work over the winter,” junior teammate and pole vaulter Ashlyn Korpak said. “I think they are going to come into the season already really strong.”

The main goal for the season is simple: win the conference and head to States.

“Every year we look to win conference then qualify as many as possible for the State Meet,” Harner said. “We prepare for each event with a lot of hard work and persistence to become stronger and faster.”