ANDERSON, Ind. —
Veteran coach Linda Williams-Boyd task early this season is to replace the 12 seniors from last season team. The Indians take to the track with 18 members, six of them were part of last years team.
Returning seniors sprinter Ariel Ashley, pole-vaulter Samantha Roy and Darien Thompson, a hurdler and relay runner will be looked upon as leaders for Williams-Boyd’s young group of girls.
“We have always had pretty good sprinter—we seem to find them along the way,” she said. “We are going to need some help in our distance areas.”
Kelsey Rhodes is the lone returning distance runner for the Indians.
Sophomore Jaycie Dickerson (shot put) and junior Da’Sha Boyd (long jump) lead the way in the field events.
Fourth-year coach Jim Watters said he hope the Panthers will build upon their above .500 season from a year ago.
With 17 girls on the team, Watters said the Panthers will compete in most tournaments, but in larger ones, like the county meet it will be difficult because of the size of his roster.
His group of girls this year differs from ones in the past, in that he said he has more sprinters than he does distance runners.
Freshmen Morgan McCormick, Haily Gillam and Ashley Reese are three young runners Watters will rely on this season and he hopes to be they can be a foundation to build a consistent competitive program.
Senior leadership for the Elwood squad will come from Whitney Campbell and Erica Harpel.
At the conclusion of last season, fourth year coach Nick Clarkson was faced with rebuilding the Bulldog’s roster after losing many of his runners to graduation. Luckily for him, a large contingent of freshmen helped fill the void and grow the roster from 11 to 20.
Freshman Paige Hendershot (hurdles), senior Prisca Sakeuh (sprinter) and sophomore Plenseh-tay Sakeuh (sprinter) are newcomers that Clarkson said he plans to rely heavily on for scoring during the season.
Seniors Adrian Jones (hurdles) and Morgan Carlson, last season’s team MVP, will be looked to as the team’s leaders. The latter is the school record holder for distance in the shot and discus.
“Morgan and Adrian have been with us forever,” Clarkson said. “They know all the drill and stretches, I don’t even need to coach. I just show up and they do all the work.”
“This year there is not a huge drop off from our first runner to our third runner,” Clarkson said. “Now maybe we get a second and fourth (place finish) instead of just the second. Those extra points are going to help us climb the ladder.”