By RON PRESTON
Abilene High School track Coach Jeff Geist and his assistants will be looking for someone to step up and help lead the track program for the Cowgirls and Cowboys this year.
Each squad returns one state qualifier. Krista Bacon qualified in the 100 high hurdles for the Cowgirls while Marcus Gonzales participated in the high jump for the Cowboys. Both are seniors and are hopeful of being state medalists this year.
“My expectations for the beginning of the year are to develop some young kids. We have around 25 upperclassmen and the rest are freshmen and sophomores,” said coach Geist.
“Gaining some confidence with our young kids and getting our older kids to be leaders that is going to be very important for us for our success,” he said.
The Cowgirls lost the services of graduating senior Kelsey Lacey who placed first in the 100-meter hurdles and third place in the 300-meter hurdles in last year’s state meet.
Other Cowgirls returning this year are seniors Kellsi Bacon in the long jump and triple jump and Macey Dinkel throwing the discuss.
Other returning Cowgirls include: juniors Savannah Roth, pole vault and javelin, Courtney Geist, long jump and javelin, Taylor Hoover, shot put, Emily Johns, pole vault, and Taylor Thompson will add experience and depth to the squad in the 1600 - meter run.
Sophomore Storm Dalton is being counted on in the triple jump for the Cowgirls.
Freshman Maggie Brooks will compete in the 1600 - meter distance run.
Krista Bacon’s best last season in 100-meter hurdles was 16.58 seconds, second only to Lacey on the 2012 North Central Kansas League girls’ track and field honor roll for 2012.
Bacon also had a time of 48.62 in the 300-meter hurdles, again second best time to Lacey.
Dinkle had a personal best in the discuss of 99’0” according to the NCKL records.
Hoover and Dinkle both participated in shot put last year with Hoover’s best toss at 29-11 and Dinkle’s throw of 28-7.
Roth and Geist had two of the top six throws in the javelin with Roth throwing 106-2 and Geist’s best at 97-2.
Roth, Emily Johns and sophomore Hannah Warren had leaps of 8-0 in pole vault for the Cowgirls.
Distance runners Hannah Hagadorn and Maddie Wildman are also expected to return for the Cowgirls.
Johns retuns in the high jump with a personal best of 4-2, while Kellsi Bacon and Geist should compete again in the long jump.
Cowgirls competing in the triple jump should be Kellsi Bacon, Geist and Storm Dalton.
Gonzales should lead the Cowboy squad in the high jump. His personal best last year according to NCKL honor roll information was 6-0.
Other seniors returning to the Cowboy track squad will be Dathan Parks, Cody Lokken and possibly Andy Wilson. Wilson is recovering from a basketball injury and the track coaches are awaiting his recovery.
Juniors Dustin Engle, shot put, and Killian Millner, hurdles, should compete right away for the Cowboys.
Sophomores Brenden Barnes, 1600, - meters’, Jacoby Robinson, hurdles’, and Quade Baugh and Caysen Smith in pole vault also return.
Top incoming freshmen should be Andrew Schwarting, 800 meter run, Alec Thompson, sprints; Trey Bender, hurdles; Rogan Tokach, distance runner, and Harley Hazlett, sprints, will add competition and depth to the team.
Senior Parks will compete in shot put and javelin. His best shot put toss was 46-10 with a javelin throw of 153-7.
Wilson, if available, would lead the long jumpers and triple jumpers on the team.
Engle had a 36-.5 toss in the shot last year.
Barnes should head the Cowboy distance runners this year.
Killian Millner and Jacoby Robinson should lead the hurdlers in the meets. Millner had a personal best of 17.4 in the 110-meter hurdles last season. Robinson had a time of 46.46 in the 300-meter hurdles.
Coach Geist is assisted by Troy Emig, Bill Christner, Brad Hartman and Dawn Holloway.
The varsity teams will compete in the Chapman Invitational Thursday with five other schools at the meet.
“This meet will give us a starting point, we haven’t had much practice time to see if everyone is going to be ready or not.”
“But everybody is in that same boat, with the weather followed by spring break and then right into the season’s first meet,” concluded coach Geist.