By Kenny Varner
BELLEFONTE – The track season is getting ready to kickoff and the Bellefonte track team is looking for good things from its returners.
After a season where the boys team went 5-2 in the Mountain League and 7-5 overall while the girls team tallied a 2-5 in the Mountain League and 3-9 overall record.
Lost to graduation for the Lady Raiders were Mykala Cole, Mia Elmore, Meredith Frey, Morgan Goodman, Elizabeth Hawk, Hannah McKeague, Rianna Morris, Juliet Hope, Abbye Schomer, Sara Tressler.
Lost from the boys’ squad was JD Besch, Matt Connolly, Eric Fenstermacker, Archer Jewell, Austin Melius, Logan Naspinsky, and Daryel Sickels.
Coach Seth Miller is looking for leadership from his returning letter winners.
The boys will be led by Eric Bennett, Willy Brinninger, Aaron Carlini, Chase Ebling, Jacob Hummel, Wyatt Lowrey, Landyn Miller, Ryan Miller, Lee Przybis , Dillion Sette, Colin Sharp, Will Spratt and Nolan Weaver.
The girls will be led by Aasliegh Aukerman, Gabby Deitrich, Autumn Eyer, Katie Gearhart, Sara Proctor, Kate Rearick, Carrie Sudicka, Ella Underwood and Josie Underwood.
The season has gotten out to a good start for Miller and his team.
“Things have been going well for us so far. The more time we’ve been able to practice at our own home facility the better we get at it,” said Miller. “Our staff has been together so many years now. We just understand everybody’s next move is so we just understand what everybody’s next moves are. So that just helps us to run practices efficiently.”
“We’ve had a good number of kids come out this season. I think the boys are in the high 40s and the girls are low to mid-30s which both are really good numbers for us.”
Miller has a strong group of youngsters that will be looking for big things. He just doesn’t know quite yet where that will be coming from due to just starting out.
“That’s been a tough one since we haven’t been in any kind of competition yet. We’ve had some time and what not but to see how they perform against live competition will be interesting,” said Miller. “We do have a good group of freshmen and sophomores, both boys and girls, I think I have about 18-19 freshman boys and a lot of those are first year athletes. They haven’t played junior high. So it might take them a little while to come around and understand the sport a little bit. But moving up through the class ranks we have some sophomores that we will be looking on to help score some points for our team. I’m not sure who they will be . Right now we are working through some of those details.”
The boys junior class is pretty small but they have a solid group of seniors. They will be Nolan Weaver, Jacob Hummel, Lee Przybis and Will Spratt, have been point scorers for the team.
“They are going to be relied on heavily,” said Miller. “On the girls side, it’s the same type of deal. We are a little bit softer on sophomores. Our juniors and seniors will definitely be relied on to be our big go getters for us.”
The strengths are different on the boys side compared to the girls.
“ I think we can look at both teams. I think from the boys side our distance group. Many of the runners also ran cross country this year. They had a very strong cross country season in the fall. I think we will be relying on those kids,” said Miller. “If we can be competitive anywhere from the 400-on up we’ll be successful. You can then control a lot of events through there.”
The girls strengths will be coming from the shorter distance races.
“I think on the girls’ side, it will be the exact opposite. I think our sprints are our strengths,” said Miller. “It’s very interesting. But that is where we have a lot of depth with some returners coming back from last year. Not to take anything away from both boys and girls throwers. We have a tradition of strong, especially in the league with our throws.”
The goals are lofty ones but reachable.
“One of our goals for the season is to battle for a league championship,” said Miller. “It’s tough in our league. If you have one week that you’re off you’re not going to win a league title. The boys have all sports ions to send an athlete to the state meet, which I think is doable. Overall, both programs want to have a winning record.”
Miller sees each meet as a challenge.
“Every year is different. It’s really only four weeks of league competition and you have to game. There are some teams that aren’t as strong but you really don’t have an off-week.”
Bellefonte opens its season March 29th they travel to Clearfield.