It’s not unusual to find the South Whidbey High School track teams on the leaderboard at the state meet, and this spring should no exception.
In fact, the goal this year, according to coach Mark Eager, is to “make the strongest showing at the state championships in the last 15 years.”
The Falcon girls finished 10th and the boys 12th at state in 2018, and key components from both squads return this year.
“This year’s goals are simple: have fun, be competitive, demonstrate character and improve throughout the season,” Eager said.
South Whidbey opens the season at the Oak Harbor Jamboree at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14.
The Falcons, who qualified all three relays for state last season, return a strong group of sprinters, including seniors Alex Kurtz and Grace Complita and juniors Karyna Hezel, Matty Straub and Mallory Drye. Junior Lila McCleary will pace the hurdlers.
Straub was eighth in the 100 and McCleary 10th in the 300 hurdles at state in 2018. Kurtz, Hezel and Complita all ran on placing relay teams.
The distance runners will be led by sophomore Kaia Swegler Richmond, who was second-team, all-conference in the 1,600 and 3,200 last year.
Senior Maddy Drye (javelin) and sophomore Leanne Robinson (pole vault) will be among the leaders in field events, according to Eager.
Senior Matthew Simmons is back after winning the league 200 and 400 titles the past two years and anchoring the conference-champion relay teams. He placed sixth in the 100 and eighth in the 200 at state.
Senior Max Dodd and sophomore Carl Henri Chapman, both who ran on state relay teams, will add depth to the sprinting corps, as will senior Caden Spear, the 2017 league 100 champion.
League champion 110-hurdler senior Kris Dixon returns; he was fourth in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the 110 hurdles at state. Kole Nelson and Bode Hezel also return to run hurdles for the Falcons.
Senior Callahan Yale, state qualifier in the 800, and junior Michael Cepowski, 10th in the state cross country meet last fall, anchor the distance crew.