Lions have group with po­ten­tial to reach states

White­ley, NC bid­ding for back-to-back con­fer­ence crowns for first time in school his­tory

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­

The list of items Glen White­ley dis­likes about track and field is short.

Near the top is the idea of be­ing chased.

“It’s not a po­si­tion we like,” said White­ley, North Caro­line High’s girls’ head coach, whose team en­ters the sea­son as the de­fend­ing Bay­side Con­fer­ence and Class 2A East Re­gion champions. “I like chas­ing be­cause when the tar­get’s on your back, you know every­body is af­ter you and every­body’s do­ing what they can to de­throne you.”

While every­one may be chas­ing the Bull­dogs, White­ley’s crew will do some chas­ing of its own this spring in a bid to win back-to-back Bay­side ti­tles for the first time in school his­tory.

Se­nior Christine Sturm re­turns to de­fend her Bay­side ti­tles in the 1,600 and 3,200 me­ters, but fig­ures to get se­ri­ous chal­lenges from Eas­ton’s Kathryn Gearhart and Kent Is­land’s Emma Tvelia. Sturm could also run the open 800 and the 3,200 re­lay, which Caro­line won at Bay­sides and re­gion­als last year.

Ju­nior Lizzy Wal­ston, who won the 400 and placed sec­ond in the long jump last year at Bay­sides, is also back and could run the 100 or 200, as well as re­lays.

Though de­fend­ing con­fer­ence 100-me­ter hur­dles champ Ja­lynn Craw­ford has moved to Delaware, the Bull­dogs have the po­ten­tial for big points in both hur­dle events. Tay­lor Knight, the de­fend­ing 2A East champ in the 300 is back, and will be joined by Mia Phillips, Ayana Swain and fresh­man Emily Lewis.

“We’re al­most as strong as last year,” White­ley said. “I think we can dou­ble score in a few events, and maybe triple score, which is where we’ll gain some points.”

The Bull­dogs have plenty of other sources to draw points from.

Fresh­man Kyra Schul­ties — whose older brother, Alex, won the 2A state ti­tle in the 800 four years ago — can run the 400, 800 and re­lay legs. Sa­van­nah Herbert can be plugged in be­tween the 800 and 3,200 me­ters, as well as the 3,200 re­lay. Katie Saathoff and Jes­sica Hot­sko pole vault, Kelsey Sloan re­turns in the high jump, while Kelsey Du­sock and Allie Har­mon are in the throws.

“It just de­pends on what every­body else has; who else has fresh­man sur­prises or trans­fers,” White­ley said. “There’s a lot of qual­ity teams with qual­ity coaches. It’s track and field. It’s any­body’s.”

Here’s a look at the rest of this year’s lo­cal teams:

Kent Is­land While in­door star Katie Poole again moves to the lacrosse field, Tvelia’s ar­rival fig­ures to give the Bucs another state qual­i­fier. Tvelia was run­ner-up in the 1,600 (5:13.58) and third in the 800 (2:21.76) at last year’s 4A state cham­pi­onships in Alaska, where she ran for Ea­gle River in Anchorage. The ju­nior was Bay­side and 2A East run­ner-up in cross coun­try this past fall and fig­ures to be right at the front of the pack along with Gearhart and Sturm at Bay­sides and re­gion­als.

“She’s go­ing to be good,” head coach Justin Hol­land said of Tvelia, who can run any­where be­tween 400 and 3,200 me­ters. “Emma’s got some goals and has got some com­pe­ti­tion on the East­ern Shore.”

Mandy Fine, the Bucs’ No. 2 in cross coun­try, will run the 1,600, 3,200 and a leg on the 4x800 re­lay, and high jump.

“It’s a lot like our in­door track team with the ex­cep­tion of (in­stead of) be­ing heavy in the sprints, we’re now heavy in the dis­tance; ob­vi­ously Emma be­ing the strong­est that we have,” Hol­land said. “But we are def­i­nitely well-rounded.”

The com­bi­na­tion of Fine and re­turn­ing Bay­side and re­gion cham­pion Delia Mack could mean big points in the high jump. Af­ter tak­ing run­ner-up honors last year, Macken­zie Poust will con­tend for the pole vault ti­tles at Bay­sides and re­gion­als. The Bucs also have Claire Mack in the shot, dis­cus and triple jump.

Queen Anne’s The Lions may not have enough to chal­lenge North Caro­line and Kent Is­land for con­fer­ence and re­gional supremacy, but they have the po­ten­tial to take a nice group to states. Three 2A East champions — ju­niors Keashia John­son (100) and Mea­gan Luke­hart (long jump), and sopho­more Tay­lor Peck (800) — re­turn. And all three could qual­ify in more than one event — John­son in the 200 and 400, Luke­hart in the high jump and triple jump, and Peck in the 1,600 me­ters.

Ju­nior Emily Gates, re­gion run­ner-up at 1,600 me­ters, is back and could con­tend for state berths in the 800 and 3,200. Fresh­man She­qoya Moore qual­i­fied for states in the 55 me­ters in­doors and could be a fac­tor in the sprints and re­lays.

De­spite the grad­u­a­tion of Bay­side shot put and dis­cus cham­pion Takia Dozier, head coach Natasha Wright has two promis­ing prospects that could make noise in the throws: fresh­man Aryelle Miles and sopho­more Ari­ana Brown. That tan­dem fig­ures to ben­e­fit from guid­ance of­fered by for­mer Queen Anne’s stand­out turned as­sis­tant coach Donyae Miles.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@star­

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