Sports

M-PHS Track & Field is Jumping Around

M-P sophomore Caleb Posey works on his hurdling form during an afternoon practice at the Tomahawk track. -
M-P sophomore Caleb Posey works on his hurdling form during an afternoon practice at the Tomahawk track.
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Determination and dedication the key to Tomahawks success

Three days before their first meet of the season, Marysville-Pilchuck track and field head coach Randy Davis has a roster of more than 180 athletes for the spring season, and he said he expects it will continue to grow.
Unlike baseball and soccer, for instance, track is a no-cut sport, which means the teams often balloon in size once other spring sports finalize their lineups, inevitably leaving some students otherwise on the sidelines.
At a school as large as M-P, managing the sheer volume of boys and girls who go out for track every season would be difficult enough for any coach to handle, but the self-discipline required by track can deter many talented athletes from returning for another year. As a result, Davis said he finds it hard to forecast the Tomahawks coming season.
Tracks a hard sport. The kids that compete three or four years, theyre really dedicated and motivated kids. I really respect the heck out of them. Sometimes if a kid doesnt find success right away they move away, when the fact is, as they get bigger and stronger, they compete better and better, Davis said. Weve got a great core of kids coming back this year who seem to understand what its all about.
Davis is excited about the girls team, which returns a number of standouts this year, including three legs of a 4-by-400-meter relay that placed third at state last spring juniors Haley Nemra and Nicolette Runyan, and senior Megan Crenshaw. Crenshaw also competed at state in the 400, and junior pole vaulter Robin Mueller returns from a 10th-place finish in the event at state last year.
As a team, the girls placed second at districts in 2006, and Davis added that many of Runyans sprinting rivals in district competition were seniors, whose graduation improves her likelihood of a state appearance as long as she stays healthy.
We have two of the better girl pole vaulters around in the area in Michaela Caldwell and Robin Mueller, Davis added. On the girls side, we really have talent sprinkled all around and were excited about that.
The picture on the boys side is a little less clear. With no returning state athletes from the boys team, Davis said he and his assistant coaches are focused on eliciting better individual performances across the board.
To be honest, the elite are the elite, and how many of them are there? Weve had great athletes come through our program, but what you want is a team of good athletes, because there are more good athletes than great athletes. So what we try to do is go through 12 weeks of improvement, Davis said. Theres eight lanes, and theres only one winner, but we dont think theres seven losers. Did someone improve their mark? Thats what were trying to achieve.
Davis said he is hoping for big things from a couple of veteran senior sprinters, Robby Walker and Duane LaPeyri; the latter also competes in the high jump.
I think we have the makings. We have a lot of fast kids. Were really excited about the relay side for the boys. Weve got a few jumpers here and there, he said, adding that he sees a lot of potential in a pair of pole vaulters, Justin King and Taylor Gibson.
Seventeen years into to coaching game, Davis said he finds dedication to training one of the best indicators of success in track and field.
The main thing we look for is regular attendance. We look for kids that are willing to train day in and day out. Were really the sport kids come to, to be better athletes. For many kids, track may not be their top sport, but theyll come to us because its good for them for football or good for them for volleyball or good for them for basketball, Davis said. He added that many of those two- and three-sport athletes develop a deeper regard for track as a sport, as more than just a training opportunity.
The track season opens with a meet March 15 against Shorecrest and Shorewood in Shoreline at 3:30 p.m. It is then that Davis expects to see the most competitive and talented athletes to emerge.

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