With 20 boys set to compete for the track and field team, Van-Far’s 2015 Spring season could end in the school’s first ever district title in the sport.
Returners include Sharrod Connor (sprints, long jump, triple jump, relays), Joseph Clithero (springs, relays), Conner Albrecht (relays, sprints, pole vault), and Andrew Snodgrass (shot put, discus, sprints, relays).
Along with the four returners, the Indians have several underclassmen who will be key to Van-Far’s success.
Those include Josh Hodde (long jump, triple jump, relays, hurdles), Lathyn McMorris (800, 1,600, 3,200), Alex Flowers (thrower), Nathan Beatty (thrower), Cole Grimes (thrower), Walter Salmon Jr. (hurdles), Trey Atkinson (hurdles), Jacob Garner (pole vault, relays, high jump), Colten Jensen (relays, sprints, middle distance), and Parker Wallace (400, relays).
Upperclassmen Mike Colson (thrower), Nick Barnes (thrower), and Cameron Perkins (relays) will also be helping the Indians.
McMorris is expected to excel in distance races as he ran a 4:51 mile as an 8th grader.
“We have 20 boys and only four are returners so we’re going to be pretty inexperienced but with track, it’s about getting better, pushing yourself, and getting better each and every practice,” said Van-Far head track and field coach Blake Logan. “You want to be hitting your stride towards the end of the season…Everyone will be pushing each other. We’ll be a pretty well balanced team overall.”
With an influx of athletes in multiple events, Logan saw the chance for his team to score even more team points by adding athletes in the pole vault.
Albrecht and Garner are expected to participate in the new event.
Logan said poles were ordered to fit the height of both athletes. There will also be two Junior High competitors learning the event.
“We ordered poles and standards,” Logan added. “It’s definitely an investment to make to add the new event.”
With athletes in every event and Logan being able to put in two relay teams for some races, he knows his squad has a great chance at making a run for a Class 1, District 1 championship.
Van-Far moved down a class size and will be in a district with several small schools from the area and all the way down to the boot heel.
It was one of the smallest Class 2 schools last year in perhaps the most competitive district in the state. It will now be one of the largest in its current district.
“There’s not many teams with 20 boys on them,” Logan added. “We have good athletes…that will allow us to be competitive in the district track meet. I have very high expectations. We definitely want to make some noise. If we stay injury free and push ourselves every meet, we definitely have a chance to compete for a district title.”
The Lady Indians don’t have as many athletes but do expect to have several top performances this Spring season.
Returners include Alexis DeTienne (sprints, relays), Abilene Gatson (sprints, jumps), Madison Orr (sprints, relays), Abbey Robinson (sprints, relays, long jump), and Jayda Borgmeyer (thrower).
Key newcomers include Taryn Adam (distance) and foreign exchange student Laura Krautkraemer (distance).
Gatson was the lone Van-Far athlete who advanced past districts last year and competed in sectionals in the high jump event. Robinson advanced to the finals in the long jump.
“I think with good improvement, we can make some noise in this district as well,” Logan said. “We have no seniors other than Abilene. We’re young so it’s all about improvement at each track meet, getting better, and starting better; constant improvement.”
Logan will be assisted by Garry Pirch and Scott Eickhoff.
Van-Far’s first official meet will be the Palmyra Invitational at Culver-Stockton College on March 26.