Lack of numbers can't hold back Cardinal track teams (Prescott Invite today at 4:00 p.m.)What the Prescott High School track and field lack in depth they sure make up in athletic talent, which will be a competitive program this spring. The Cardinals will be hosting the Prescott Invitational meet this afternoon starting at 4 p.m. at Laney Field
PRESCOTT - What the Prescott High School track and field teams lack in depth they sure make up in athletic talent, which means they will be a competitive program this spring.
The Cardinals will be hosting the Prescott Invitational meet this afternoon starting at 4 p.m. Ellsworth will also be attending the meet.
PHS displayed its prowess potential for this season at the New Richmond Indoor Invitational a week ago at UW-River Falls's Knowles Center. PHS won five events in the boys' meet alone in a field which included Middle Border Conference rivals New Richmond, Amery, Osceola and Somerset.
Leading the Cards was junior sprinter Sam Smith, brother of graduated senior and sectional champion Joe Smith who placed third in the 400 at state last year. Sam Smith won both the 55-meter dash and the long jump. Another returning letterman, senior Matt Pechacek, triumphed in the 800-meter dash and helped Prescott win both the 1600 and 3200 meter relays.
Prescott has talented core of middle distance and distance runners. This includes returning lettermen juniors, Jess Lonetti, Cole Hauenstein and Zach Sobolewski, sophomores Troy Urman and Danny Cobenais and senior Cameron Cruz.
The Cardinal adds to their sprinter/jumper depth with sophomore Jack Geiger and junior letter winners Alex Brunner and Harry Cutler. Junior Nick Jacobsen returns for the throwing events
"In some events we have some good numbers but others we needs kids to step up," new PHS boys' track coach Luke Kjelland said. "This will be true in the hurdles, the pole vault and the jumps as well. Whether we can get contributions in those events will be the question mark for our chances as a team this spring. We have some very good runners who can score points but we just need more places in other events to add to them."
PHS was a fourth place finisher in the MBC meet and the regionals and finished in the top 10 of the Division 2 sectional meet. Kjelland feels that's more than doable for this season as well along with have state meet qualifiers. Last spring PHS qualified Smith in two events plus the MBC and regional champion 1600-meter relay team. PHS needs to replace both Joe Smith and Mark Nahorniak from last year's quartet and high jumper Cody Haupt.
"We have good runners so we have good potential to bring down more teams and individual runners to state." Kjellajnd said.
Thania Thatcher is similar situation as Kjelland. The long-time PHS head coach of the girls' track team has a sure state qualifier in distance runner and MBC and regional champion Victoria Simones and she hopes to get back the Cards 3200-relay team, which consists of the school's best female athletes in the junior Simones, senior Autumn Stees, and junior Emily Bayer.
Prescott will need to replace some graduated seniors from that team like Savannah Bowen, Melanie Tschida and Amanda Stiles. Freshman Amanda Murphy is a leading candidate.
"She ran very well in middle school so we're excited about what she can add to the team," Thatcher said.
Thatcher also hopes to see Stees succeed in individual events as well and she got off to a good start at the indoor meet. She won the long jump as was second in the 800-meter run. She and her sister Abbey will compete in the jumps.
Prescott is trying to overcome injuries problems at the start of the season to some of their returning letter winners like senior thrower Jessica Hanneman (shoulder), senior jumper Camillie Swan (concussion), and junior Georgia Bowen (knee.) The Cards' fortunes as team may rest on health and the contributions of their younger athletes like Murphy, Emmie Carpenter and Kanya DeWire in several events.
"We've have a young team in a lot of events but we also have eight seniors who very good team leaders along with being good athletes," Thatcher said.
The Prescott girls finished fifth last year in the MBC, sixth in the regional and 12th in the sectional and Thatcher believes those places are reachable again by this year's Cardinal girls' team if not exceedable.