Coaches en­cour­aged by early sea­son ef­forts

Buc­ca­neers, Bull­dogs, Vik­ings, Colonels could make ti­tle runs

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

There was rea­son for North Bay­side coaches to leave the in­au­gu­ral Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester Clas­sic Track and Field In­vi­ta­tional two weeks ago en­cour­aged.

Kent Is­land High’s boys’ team fin­ished one half point shy of Lake For­est (Del.) for the team ti­tle, but long­time head coach Justin Hol­land saw se­ri­ous points com­ing from ar­eas other than his stal­wart mid­dle and longdis­tance crew.

While North Caro­line’s boys fin­ished in a dis­tant fifth-place tie, head coach Glen White­ley was with­out JaMion Franklin, Christopher Hale and Rod­ney Thomas, who to­gether could make a dif­fer­ence in any meet, in­clud­ing states.

Per­haps the gid­di­est coach of the bunch though, was Cam­bridge-SD’s Lois Narr, who watched her boys’ team fin­ish third — more than 12 points ahead of de­fend­ing Class 1A East Re­gion cham­pion Colonel Richard­son — and the girls place sixth — just two points be­hind Snow Hill, which fig­ures to be the Vik­ings’ chief ri­val again come re­gion­als.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited,” Narr said. “The boys are strong, and they’re strong be­cause we have some re­ally great se­niors.”

Three of those se­niors, Matt Ko­let­sky, Trevor Good­win and Carson Tay­lor teamed with sopho­more Con­nor McCroy to win the 3,200-me­ter re­lay at the Class 1A state in­door cham­pi­onships in Fe­bru­ary, giv­ing the Vik­ings their first state in­door crown of any type in their first in­door sea­son. Later that day, Ko­let­sky be­came the school’s first in­di­vid­ual state cham­pion in­doors when he won the 800.

The de­fend­ing Bay­side and 1A East cham­pion in the 400 and 800, as well a mem­ber of the 3,200 re­lay, Ko­let­sky should again be out in front for the Vik­ings, who were run­ners-up to Colonel by five points at re­gion­als a year ago, and fourth at Bay­sides. Good­win won the 1,600 at Bay­sides and the 3,200 at re­gion­als a year ago, and fig­ures to be a key cog in a ti­tle push, along with McCroy, Tay­lor, Ben Corn­well (hur­dles) and new ar­rival Ja­cob New­comer (hur­dles).

Com­ple­ment­ing that group will be Ian Ma­son and Zhi­hong Pang, who fin­ished sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively, at Bay­sides last year in the pole vault, Hunter Brown, fifth in the dis­cus at the in­vi­ta­tional, and sprinter Tajh Molock.

Cam­bridge-SD may need all that if it’s to wres­tle the 1A East ti­tle away from Colonel Richard­son.

“So far from what I’ve seen in the 1A, I be­lieve it’s go­ing to be us and Cam­bridge,” Colonel head coach James Jack­son said. “Cam­bridge is strong in mid­dle dis­tance and (long) dis­tance also. It’s just go­ing to come down to can we make up the pole vault points that we’re not go­ing to have.”

Colonel se­nior speed burner Eric Joseph needs only to look back on last year’s state meet to find all the mo­ti­va­tion he needs, af­ter get­ting nipped by Brunswick’s Erik Jones in the 100-me­ter fi­nal, then on the an­chor leg of the 4x100 re­lay, 44.29 to 44.37.

“He keeps think­ing about how close he was,” Jack­son said of Joseph, whose time of 11.22 sec­onds was sec­ond to Jones’ 11.12 in the 100. “He was there with La­mar Opher, when La­mar was there (win­ning the 100 and 200 state ti­tles in 2014). He keeps talk­ing about he wants to have his name up on the gym wall with La­mar. So I think this year could be his year if he pushes him­self.”

Colonel will again rely heav­ily on its speed. Stan­ley Pierre-Louis and Richard­son Rene have grad­u­ated, but the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 re­lays should still be strong with Jack­son us­ing any com­bi­na­tion of Joseph, Cloder­son Charles, Robert Thomp­son, Mar­cus John­son, Dar­rion Speller, Brock­man Har­ris, Dakota Wil­son and fresh­man Jabraih Luke.

Speller won the 110-me­ter high hur­dles and triple jump ti­tles at re­gion­als last year, and could bid for the long jump crown as well. John­son (400), Thomp­son (100, 200), Har­ris (1,600) will earn points on the track, while Charles (high jump), Wil­son (long jump), RaeQuan Dodd (shot put) and John Carter (dis­cus) look to add points from the field.

Ei­ther North Caro­line or Kent Is­land has won the last four con­fer­ence cham­pi­onships — two each for the girls, while the Bull­dogs have won three of the last four boys’ ti­tles, in­clud­ing the last two.

“Bay­sides is still ob­tain­able and so is re­gions for the boys,” White­ley said. “It just de­pends on who stays healthy.”

The re­turn of se­nior Rod­ney Thomas, who can chal­lenge for both hur­dle ti­tles at any level, could also put the Bull­dogs in con­tention at states. Thomas can be in­serted in both sprints, or in a re­lay, de­pend­ing on where White­ley thinks he can earn the most points.

A ju­nior, Franklin, who’s be­ing courted by more than a half dozen Divi­sion I schools for foot­ball, won the dis­cus at Bay­sides last year be­fore fin­ish­ing sec­ond at the 2A East Re­gional and states — where he un­loaded a school-record heave of 158 feet, 8 inches — and won the con­fer­ence and re­gion ti­tles in the shot put be­fore tak­ing third at states.

Thomas and Franklin, along with Christopher Hale, who can earn ma­jor points in hur­dles, long and triple jump, de­fend­ing con­fer­ence and re­gion pole vault cham­pion Devin Robin­son, Tay Potts (long jump, re­lays), Will Sa­muels (pole vault), Jor­dan Figueroa (pole vault), Kyle Schultz (400) and Troy Smith, run­ner-up in the 3,200 at the in­vi­ta­tional, place North Caro­line firmly among the fa­vorites.

They have fa­mil­iar com­pany in Kent Is­land. But the fa­mil­iar faces run­ning the mid to long dis­tances for the Buc­ca­neers aren’t the only ones with the po­ten­tial to im­pact Bay­side and re­gion­als this year.

David Bowen is back and ac­counted for 24 points at the Cam­bridge-SD Clas­sic, plac­ing sec­ond in the triple jump, third in the 400 and fourth in the 200 and long jump. Alex Em­surak scored in the hur­dles. And first-year throw­ers Matt Zart­man, Bran­den Jaski and Chris­tian Rogers com­bined for 13 points in the shot, with Zart­man fin­ish­ing sec­ond.

“They showed me a lot of heart and the de­sire to win is get­ting stronger,” Hol­land said of the boys’ team. “In in­door, ob­vi­ously the dis­tance run­ners had that de­sire; they ba­si­cally pulled the team. Now, the sprint­ers are get­ting on board and shot put is get­ting there. So now they’re all kind of form­ing more of a team as op­posed to the dis­tance crew do­ing ever ything.”

That crew in­cludes de­fend­ing Bay­side 3,200 champ Brandon Ni­chols, who took first at 1,600 me­ters in the Cam­bridge-SD Clas­sic, Erick Sanchez, who won the Clas­sic’s 3,200, Cade Stan-


Kent Is­land’s Emma Tvelia could push for a state ti­tle this sea­son.

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