The snow still lies thick on the infield, but Joseph track and field coach John Roberts has already cleared off the quarter mile oval, which looks dark and even warm in the March sun.
“With a team of 27 seasoned veterans and energetic freshmen, the fledgling track and field season looks promising,” Roberts said. “I think we’ll be going to State with quite a few athletes.”
The competition will be stiff. This year, five schools statewide, including Elgin and Imbler, dropped from the 2A division to 1A. But Roberts and assistant Coach Michelle Homan have faith in their athletes.
Expectations for success include a repeat of winning performances by runner Ellyse Tingelstad who took first in the 3000 and 1500 meters at State last year, and strong finishes by other junior and senior runners.
Senior Natalie Gorham returns to fling the discus and put the shot, along with up and coming performer Renee Sealy.
On the boys’ side, Tyler Homan has vowed to set a new school record in hurdles. His best time last season was only 0.01 seconds off the old mark.
“He’s stronger and seems faster this year,” Roberts said, “so it’s a good bet that he can meet his goal.” Homan also took fourth at State, and plans to better that this year.
Last year Juston Rogers was fourth in state at middle distances. This year the sophomore returns with high hopes.
Several upperclassmen new to the team offer greater depth in field events. They include Trey Wandschneider and Steve Beckman.
“I’d like to see Wandschneider throw,” Roberts said. “But we’re going to start him in the long jump.”
The first regional Track and Field meet is April 5 in Milton Freewater. The Joseph regional meet is slated for April 19.