LHS track boasting big goals
The prospect of having a young squad and small numbers never has done anything to deter Errol Logue's optimism about track season.
Logue's philosophy always has been to look at the individuals he has, no matter how many or few, and help them achieve their goals.
His strategy will be the same this season, and Logue said there are plenty of goals to be met.
"That's the advantage of being a track coach," Logue said. "There's years you can have real good teams, but regardless, you always have an athlete or two who can go all the way, and we have more than two or three kids who are talented this year."
He's right. His squad may be smaller than usual - 32 boys and 22 girls are on the team this year - but the Lions have oodles of talent returning.
The LHS girls' squad should be deeper than the boys in regard to returning members. For starters, senior Tiffany Turner has aspirations of earning another trip to state and improving her school-record throw of 36-11 3/4 in the shot put. Senior Sara Eustice, the school-record-holder in the pole vault, will take aim at another trip to the medal stand after placing sixth at state each of the last two seasons. Junior Amanda Radovich also was a state medalist last year, finishing sixth in javelin.
Juniors Ashley Mayes and Erin Eustice will headline the distance squad, which Logue said he expects great things from because of the addition of new distance coach Melanie King, a former scholastic All-American at Pittsburg State and one of the top prep runners in the Kansas City area in the early 1990s.
"I'm telling you, she's terrific," Logue said of King. "We've got some good kids in distance, and I'm telling you we're going to see some real progress in that group because she's doing a terrific job. Mayes and Erin Eustice are good kids to work around, and she's working right now with about 10-13 kids in the distance program. She's doing a great job, and I think we'll see some results from that."
The newcomer on the girls' side whom Logue has the highest expectations of is freshman sprinter and hurdler Takeisha Jenkins. Jenkins displayed her athleticism this winter as a solid contributor on the junior varsity basketball team, and Logue said he expects that to carry over to the track.
"Right now, she's just looking like gangbusters," he said. "A lot of times when kids come up from middle school you've got to teach them how to work, but not her. She knows how to work, and she's very coachable."
The LHS boys placed second at state in 2002 and third in 2003, but most runners from those squads have long since graduated, leaving junior sprinter Jeff Slater as the lone leftover from the Lions' heyday. Logue isn't discouraged by the rebuilding process, however. Instead, he said it pumped him up.
"We're hoping some of the sophomores and juniors we developed last year will help us," Logue said, "but the bright spot is we have about 15 freshman boys, which is a good base."
A few guys Logue said could make an impact this spring are freshman Will Johnson in the high jump and pole vault, junior Lance Fink and Chris Mann in the sprints, sophomore Todd Moore in the long and triple jump, Ethan Walker in the hurdles and senior Neal Watson in the javelin.
Another athlete to watch will be freshman sprinter Michael Griffin, who Logue said could be the gem of the freshman class.
"Kevin Riemann is our sprint coach, and he's a football coach so we knew (Griffin) was fast when he played football," Logue said.
The Lions will open their season Friday when they travel to Baldwin High School for the Baldwin Invitational.