Right on trackPublished 5:14pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013
It’s a sport that’s predicated on digits and right now Washington track and field coach Jon Blank likes his numbers. With a 109 athletes on the team, Blank’s roster is the biggest since 2008 and he is hoping that it leads to big things.
At the very least, Washington will be able to put an athlete in each event, which is a luxury Blank has not always had.
“It allows us to fill out all the events,” Blank said. “For the boys that hasn’t really been a problem but for the girls it has been. To be able to at least compete in all of these events gives us more of a shot.”
Blank attributed the team’s roster boom to the sport’s rise in popularity and the notion that it helps an athlete compete at a higher level in other sports he or she might play.
“I think that a lot of kids realize they can be successful in track,” Blank said. “Track is also a great springboard for better athleticism for their other sports.”
Headlining this year’s team is super sophomore Markell Spencer who made it all the way to the 3-A state meet in the 100-meter dash as a freshman and placed 10th.
“With the things he did last year as a freshman, we definitely have high hopes for him,” Blank said. “We feel like he can be a state qualifier in the 100 (-meter dash) and the 200 (-meter dash) and may be able to help the 4×100 and 4×200 take a state medal.”
The Washington boys’ team is filled with veteran performers that are expected to help the team challenge for a Coastal Conference championship.
“(Senior sprinter) Devonte Corprew has been strong so far. Tarahje Burke is a junior who returns for the 110 hurdles and he qualified for the regionals last year … Stevie Green has come out for the team and we’re hoping he can be a strong jumper for us,” Blank said. “Philip Peaden is a senior distance runner who is strong in the 800 … Jacquez Columbus is another senior who comes back and should be our top thrower in the discuss and shot put. Hopefully he can get into the regionals for both of those events.”
While the boys’ team is comprised of veterans, the girls’ roster is a youthful one that is filled with potential. Blank said he has received strong leadership from his returning athletes and was impressed by the work of young athletes such as Dasia Smith and Caitlyn and Cierra Hales.
“We really don’t know what to expect from the girls yet. We’re so young and inexperienced there. I only have about four or five girls back from last year’s team. Most of these girls are as green as green can be but there is a ton potential in the group,” Blanks said. “I have Andrea Pead returning for our sprinters and she is a leader for us and showing the new girls how to do things. Callie Landon and Michaela Daniels have come out and shown great leadership as well.”