Times Sports Editor
The outdoor track and field season gets underway today for the Northview Knights and both coaches will be happy to get a meet under their belts.
Both the boys and girls' teams boast good numbers, but have quite a few unknown quantities.
North-view's strength should come from both distance squads according to boys' coach Jeff Gambill.
"We should be strong in the 400 up," said Gambill. "Our 4x8 is not set, but we should be very good. Returners are Kolby Henke, Landry Moore, Eli Kirby, Conor Strain, Ryan Lutes and newcomers are Tanner Brown and John Latta."
"I believe a majority of our running points will come from the 800, 1600, 3200, and 4x800," said girls' coach Ryand Tucker.
According to Tucker, many of the group are turning in better times already than they were last season.
Junior Kylee Thacker returns after qualifying for the state finals last season and will be important in scoring big points for the Knights.
The Northview boys have 35 athletes out for the team this season, including some talented freshmen who will have to come in and score quickly.
"James Trackwell will be running the 400 and Joel Whittington will be running the hurdle events," said Gambill of two of his freshmen. "We have several first timers who should make an impact: John Latta - distance, Damon Smith, Jason Hakman and Logan Lynch in the sprints.
The girls' team will also be getting freshmen help this season according to Tucker.
The sprints are my largest group and many are freshmen," said Tucker. Once the freshmen become acclimated to running at the high school level they should be able to score some points. I am thinking that some of the freshmen will be pushing some of the upperclassmen as the season progresses."
Tucker also expects junior Sara Niehaus to compete in the 100 and 200 meter events for the Knights and sophomore Carlee Bell should continue to be a force in the 200 and 400.
With the inclement weather during early practices, some of the field events have been difficult to practice.
The long jump and high jump are still a bit undecided according to Gambill and Tucker.
"We have not been able to get a lot of practice time in the long jump due to the weather," said Tucker. "There are a few athletes that have expressed interest but I will take a wait and see approach to the long jump."
Gambill pointed towards returning jumper Cainan Reeves are a contributor along with Hakman and Lynch.
Lynch and Whittington are each getting practice in the high jump as well.
Griffin Maurer and Griffin Norris are going to be important in the hurdle events with Whittington working on the event as well.
In the throws, the boys' team brings back Jordan Keller, Ross Crooks and Alex Modesitt who continue to improve, but the girls' are charged with replacing ISU recruit Ashley Davis.
"Samantha Solomon has already set a PR in the shot put indoors. She also appears more comfortable in the discus," said Tucker. "She should step in and fill in the hole graduation caused. Britany Dean has also shown in practice that she is capable of great things in both the shot and the discus."
In the pole vault, Jordan Maurer is an experienced returnee for the boys along with Jared Royer and the girls' Rachael Packard has shown promise as well. Freshman Annie Smiley has also made an impression.
"Annie Smiley should jump right in and score points for us on a regular basis," commented Tucker. "She has advanced rapidly in the pole vault and should be toward the top in most meets. She should also score points in the hurdles and high jump.
Shandi Travis is the girl's top high jumper and is a regional qualifier from last season. Her continued improvement guarantees the Knights top points each meet.
"This team has great potential," mentioned Tucker. "They all have the ability to compete with anybody in the area. High goals have been set for the team this year."
"I think we'll need to get as much experience as possible and see where everyone fits in," said Gambill of his boys' team. "Edgewood will be the favorite at the conference meet, but it's a long time between now and then and we have a lot of potential for improvement."
The Knights host Owen Valley and South Putnam tonight beginning at 5 p.m.