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Spartans work hard to get to Star Track in May
Coaches try to find the right event for everyone.
Last season, the Bainbridge track team sent six to Star Track, but none of them placed in the top eight to earn a medal, a rarity for a team that has had a consistent presence at the state meet over the years.
This season, three of those six state qualifiers return in senior Mark Smith, junior Isabel Ferguson and sophomore Pearl Terry.
Smith qualified for the high jump while Pearl Terry and Ferguson qualified in the 400 meter dash and the 800 meter run, respectively, and made up half of the girls’ 4x400 meter relay team. Terry is a two-time Star Track qualifier as is Ferguson, who is also a two time state qualifier in cross country.
Also back for the boys are seniors Corey Touchette, Brad Wilmot, Alec Grimm, John Murphy, Sean LaBelle and Drew Wickens; juniors Cameron Brink, Kyler Mikami, Sam Pappas and sophomores Tyler Cox and Joe Misenti.
Head coach Andy Grimm said that Brink, a district qualifier in the discus last season, has a shot to make it to state. Wilmot and Wickens have the potential to make it to districts while LaBelle is a standout in the middle distance events.
For the girls, juniors Haley Brant-Erichsen, Joli Holmes, Carolyn Milander, Katherine Bond, Keazia Thomas-O’Hearn, Julia Thomas and sophomore Anna Misenti return to try and advance farther in the postseason.
Several newcomers that have impressed the coaches on the boys’ team are freshmen Corey Dunn, Jack O’Dell, Dylan Read and Tyler Martinez-Green.
On the girls’ side, senior Veronica Saez, junior Hannah Nash, sophomore Haley Storey and freshmen Danielle Bogardus, Serena Canner and Ivy Terry are newcomers that have the potential to succeed.
Grimm said they will try a few of the girls out to fill the spots in the 4x400 relay with Ferguson and Pearl Terry. Saez came out for the team last season, but left to play for the Chilean U-17 women’s national team. Grimm said she would have been a key addition to a relay team last season. Bogardus – who played on the basketball team – is a excellent sprinter.
“We’ve got some good kids that we think can help make our relays solid,” he said. “We’ve got a good, athletic group of girls that are pretty young, so we’re going to try and figure out where they can have the most success.”
The main strength of both sides are the middle and long distance events, as many of the athletes have run cross country for several years.
Grimm said their strategy has been to train athletes in the middle distance events, such as the 400 and 800, then move them down to the 100 and 200 meter dash for league events.
“Metro is dang tough, especially in sprints,” Grimm said. “What we talk with the kids is, where are you going to have the most success? Yeah, you love the 100 and you’re the middle school champ at Woodward, but I can show you the list of last year’s (league times in the) 100, and (their time) would rank you about 60th in Metro.”
Grimm also said the coaches work to find where an athlete can find an event where they can be successful, whether it’s a relay, a mid-distance event or even a throwing or jumping event.
With exactly 100 athletes turning out for the Bainbridge track team this season (50 for each gender), the challenge is trying to find spots for everyone on the team. But Grimm said he and the coaches like the challenge of finding an event where a athlete can find success.
“I’m never not going to let a kid run,” Grimm said. “Just understand it’s highly competitive, so why don’t we find something where you have a shot (at succeeding).
“That’s where, as coaches, we say hey, let’s make this kid a hurdler,” he continued. “It’s a tougher event and not a lot of kids do it, so you have to be disciplined and you have to be willing to take the time to do it.”
Tatiana Sils works on her hurdling form at practice Monday.
John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo