BLHS track teams set goals for new spring season
This year's Basehor-Linwood track team roster will be large but filled with athletes.
But if those athletes' success in other sports is indicative of their potential in track, the Bobcats could be vastly improved.
"We have over 65 athletes out, which gives us a much greater chance to fill all the events, increasing our chances to place in major meets," coach Steve Hopkins said. "Most of our new athletes are first-time track athletes or freshmen, so we are not sure where they will all fit, but we will know much more by the middle of April after we get more outside work in and have a few meets."
Hopkins also plans to rely on his senior class to lead the Bobcats as it has during successful fall and winter sports seasons.
"Many of these same athletes such as Stephen Millison, Sam Seaman and Kyle Allen from our soccer team, Brooke Sanders from our volleyball and basketball squads, and Swede Johnson and Ethan Douglas, as well as Scott Ogilvie from football will be the core of our team," Hopkins said.
The team hopes to put together good relay squads with the sprinter speed of Ogilvie as well as senior Bruce Tyner, who has battled injuries during his career, but is excited about his senior season.
The girls will also be led by seniors like Emily Lackner and Katelynn Witt, two seniors who are on the record board in relays (3,200 for Emily, and 400 for Katelynn).
All track teams hope to have key seniors in leadership roles and then we hope our younger athletes mature and work on relay teams and gradually find their spots in other individual events," Hopkins said.
Outside practice has been difficult to get in thus far due to weather - practice began on Feb. 25.
Last year's squad only sent one individual to state: Ogilvie in the 110-meter high hurdles. At the regional competition at Royal Valley, the boys ended up scoring 18 points as a team and placed 12th out of 16 teams. The girls scored 11 and placed 13th out of 16 teams.
"We made progress and finished in the middle of the KVL," Hopkins said. "Our girls distance runners were strong and we return Kayla Peterson, who set the school record in the two mile on her last meet of the year as a freshman. She also ran on the girls 4 X 800 team, which broke the school record by over 10 seconds.
"Running with her on the relay were Shanna Couch and Ashley Jeannin from our girl's soccer team and Emily Lackner. Lackner is back, and Shanna is still hoping to run with us at selected meets and is focused on the school's mile record.
" We hope to continue to lower those records," Hopkins said."
He said the team's goals for this season would be to finish in the top half of the KVL. He said improving conditioning and stamina of his athletes for the state meet is a priority.
"Our strength and conditioning program, including our power lifters as well as our winter sports participants, have so much more to work with due to Coach Schwisow's program," Hopkins said. "They have a chance to continue to get stronger and as we gain strength we improve speed and endurance, so that we will be strongest in May."
One early season target is April 4 when Basehor-Linwood plays host to the Bobcat Relays. While it is the first big meet, the team will not be at full strength because some of its athletes will be gone on a school trip. Hopkins said he hopes to have the team at full strength by the end of April.
"Until then, the meets are used to improve skills, to build endurance and to learn to compete," he said.