As the 2012 track and field season gets underway, local schools are looking to make their mark on the district, region and state meets.
The southern Denton County area is home to some of the best distance runners, pole vaulters and other track athletes in the state, and this year looks to be no different.
Argyle, once again, should rival for a championship in their 3A district, and coach Kathi Olson said she is optimistic about the coming season.
“Things look really good,” Olson said. “I have everyone back and adding some really good freshmen to the team.”
Olson said some of the key returners this year include Jessie Johnson, the two time state champion pole vault, Darby Hargroves who has been to state every year of her his career in the 4×400, and the three sophomores on last year’s state qualifying 4×400, which include Taylor Mueller, Laine Lowry and Brooke Robertson.
Argyle finished second in district last season by one point on the girls side, as well as fifth at region and state.
Olson said she sees Sanger and Whitesboro as the teams to beat in district this season, and said to have a successful year, it will take a few things.
“We have to be competing well on a weekly basis to better ourselves for Region 2, and have few injuries and health issues,” Olson said.
Over at Liberty, coach Zack Vest said he has a number of strong athletes back from this year, including Sydney Brynn, a state qualifier in the 3,200, and 1,600, Mckenzie Middle, a state qualifier in discus, Maile Curbo, Mckenzie Millican, Sophie Asprey, and Malory Grigg, state qualifiers in the 4×400, Kelsey Finch, a regional qualifier in shot put, and runners to watch include Paige Jeary, Sophie Standifer, Betsy Smith, Abbey Deaver, Hanna Elsey, Marissa Marrs, Marci Morgan, Alexandra McMillan, and Caroline Brady.
“This year, our team is focusing on competing for Christ and each other,” Vest said. “The team attitude has been great, and I believe has the ability to surprise some people this year.”
Vest said he expects defending state champions Ursuline and Bishop Lynch to be the teams to beat in district this year.
Flower Mound coach Andrew Cook said he has a number of strong athletes returning as well, and that things are looking good for both teams.
On the girls side, the key contributor should be Dephanie Adeyemi, who was the state runner up in the 100 last year with a time of 11.72 and was the anchor on the Jaguars’ district winning 4×200 team.
In the field events, Jenny Hoffman has been working hard and should be able to provide points for Flower Mound in the high jump.
In the distance events, Cook said he is looking for Safee Belbina to make a big impact for Flower Mound, as she was a top ten cross country runner this fall and was the fastest freshman in the state.
On the boys side, a key contributor is Anthony Parisi, who placed third at the regional meet in the 300 hurdles with a time of 38.28 last year.
In the field events, Cook said Wade Walter has continued to work on his technique and should provide points for Flower Mound in the high jump.
In the distance events, Cook said Wesley Ward, Zach Hamstra and Justin McMillin have looked strong in early workouts.
Cook said things are shaping up well for the season, and said the goals are to focus on the building blocks to a strong year.
“This early in the season our main goal is to stay healthy and to put in consistent workouts,” Cook said. “I feel we have so far accomplished that goal, and I hope we can continue to work hard and improve throughout the season.”
The Flower Mound girls finished sixth at the state meet last year, and Cook said for the teams to have a good showing this season, it will take good team chemistry.
“In order for us to have a strong season it is important for our athletes to continue to work together as team,” Cook said.
For Marcus High School, this looks to be a promising season as several athletes should make an impact.
Coach Steve Telaneus said the boy’s side is looking to make some noise in district this year.
“We have the best sprinters we have had in a couple of years,” Telaneus said. “The 400 and 800 relays have both started strong.”
On the girls side, Telaneus said he has been impressed with the team as a whole.
“We are very well balanced with an athlete in every event that can score for us,” Telaneus said.
Some of the stronger returners for the Marauders include Jeff Smiley (200 and lead off for relays), Michael Hoppe (Pole vault and 110 hurdles), Mark Demery (Sprints and jumps), and DJ Simons (sprints) for the boys, and Katie Canavin (Distance), Sydney Brown (Distance), Christina Nguyen (Sprints, Pole vault, jumps), Lauren Daniels (Sprints), Brittany Jacobson (Sprints), Krystal Ochulo (Throws), Lauren Douglas (High Jump State Qualifier last year), Katie Field (Long Sprints) and Victoria Baldwin (Long Sprints) for the girls.
Telaneus said, as always, his team has its work cut out for it in district competition.
“Everyone in the district is tough,” Telaneus said. “I’m not sure there is a clear favorite.”
Marcus was the district runner up on the girls side last season, and fifth on the boys side, but only 25 points out of first place.