Experienced competitors return for BLHS track
Basehor-Linwood’s track team has between 50 and 55 members on it this season.
The team is a mixture of proven athletes whose talents are clear to coaches and also unknown newcomers who will be given the opportunity to try various events early in the season and, hopefully, find a niche.
“We hope to find places for all of our athletes to run, throw and jump in by the Kaw Valley League meet in May,” coach Steve Hopkins said.
Both the boys and girls teams have top returners from last season.
In girls’ competition, senior distance runner Kayla Peterson has led the team throughout preseason workouts. She figures to be a top contributor this season.
Dakkota Edmonds is another top returner in sprinting events. She narrowly missed qualifying for state last year.
On the boys’ team, senior Brian Pemberton is a strong returner in the pole vault.
He is also working in sprint events. Daniel Prioleau, a junior, qualified for state last spring in the 100 meter and 200 meter dash. He is also leading the sprint workouts and is expected to be one of the team’s top contributors and should contend for a return trip to the state championships.
Miles Brown and Bobby Courtney return in the jumps. Courtney holds the school record in the high jump and has his sights set on qualifying for state.
“We feel like we can score points in our sprints, both boys and girls, plus our pole vault as well as some of our other field events entrants, but we will not have enough depth at the large meets until we find places for all of our athletes,” Hopkins said.
Finding depth and athletes who can score points will determine how they place in meets.
In addition to the top returners, the team also has newcomers who could be classified as mysteries early in the season.
“We have only a few seniors and yet, many of our younger athletes are performing well and we have several first-year track athletes, so their best events are somewhat of a mystery at this time. But they will find their place by mid-April,” Hopkins said.
Conditioning and running form have been points of emphasis during early practices.
In preseason workouts, Hopkins said athletes could be classified in two groups. Those who participated in offseason workouts with strength coach Ross Schwisow are on a different level than the others.
“Those who worked hard in the winter months with either powerlifting or in offseason conditioning with coach Schwisow are handling early workouts well,” Hopkins said. “There are others who are going to struggle to get in shape in time for early meets.”
Basehor-Linwood opens the season today at the Baldwin Invitational. BLHS will then play host to its home meet on Friday, April 9.