Final rosters for Coach Bernie Pearce’s boys and girls track teams are not set for a couple of reasons. As I type, the Ouray boys are still playing basketball at the state tournament; Pearce expects at least four of the basketball Trojans to join the track squad once they’re free. And second, the team this year will include an as yet undetermined number of athletes from Silverton and Lake City, in addition to the squads from Ouray and Ridgway high schools.
“This year is a high-interest year,” Pearce said of the bordering counties, which, under Colorado High School Activities Association rules, can combine efforts with the established Ridgway/Ouray team. “It’s been five or six years since we’ve had kids from Silverton.” This year, the long-time coach and Ouray athletic director expects four freshman and a sophomore from Silverton on the boys’ side and another five boys and one girl from Lake City. The athletes are coached at home during the week. “Then,” Pearce said, “we meet at the meets.”
The large team – Pearce expects about 47 from the four schools – “will allow us to do a lot of team things, like relays; we’ll be able to pick up points here and there, which is crucial to scoring at meets.”
The known quantities for Pearce include returning Ouray senior Kaleb Sackman, the squad’s lone state qualifier last year. Sackman competed in the triple jump and finished seventh at state with a leap of 41’ 5”. “Kaleb’s goal this year is to return to the state meet and move up the finish ladder, hopefully with at least a personal best (currently 41’ 9.25”). And perhaps take aim at the school record of 43’ 6” set by Chris Scott in 2006 when he won the state championship. By a quarter of an inch!”
On the girls’ side, Pearce said that Ouray senior Geordyn MacDougall “will have a good opportunity to vie for a trip to state in both the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces on the girls’ side,” Pearce said. Five are from Ridgway: three freshmen, one sophomore, and one junior. “Candace Yengst is a junior. She’ll be running the 400 meters and the triple jump. She’s an athlete. She scored 34 points against Ouray in basketball this season. Jasmin Braund, a freshman, will be running sprints.”
Adding experience for the Ouray girls will be junior Taylor Schoenebaum, who will specialize on the distance events, the 1600 and 3200 meters.
On the boys’ side, all five Silverton athletes are new. (They will be coached at home by Dave Emory.) “It’ll be a matter of seeing what they can do,” Pearce said of their events.
From Lake City, Pearce singled out Forrest Swift (“What a cool track name!”), who ran cross-country this year with Pearce’s team from the Uncompahgre Valley. Pearce also mentioned junior Dylan Smith, “who will run relays and sprints and jump the triple and long jumps.” Senior Drew Stuntz is expected to throw the shot and the discus. Lake City will be coached at home by Dan Scroggins and Brad Frye.
From Ridgway, which has eight boys on the team, Pearce singled out Zane DeZeeuw, a junior, who will run middle distances, 200 to 800 meters; sophomore long- and triple-jumper Noah Hughes; junior Albert Evarts, “a cross-country runner who is hoping he can translate the uneven terrain to going around and around;” and sophomore Kyle Cotton, “whose forte is middle distance, the 400 or the 800. And we’re hoping he will dabble in the discus – he’s got the long arm delivery system.”
In addition to Sackman, Ouray will contribute 14 boys to the squad, including seven seniors: Sackman, Blake Zimmerman, Eli Holmes, Wheeler Juell, Chris Cramp, Jeff Rummel and Torey Reuschhoff.
“We expect to have some competitive male and female relay teams that could make it to JeffCO Stadium for the big show,” Pearce said. With all the cross-country/distance running experience on the squad, the coach thinks, “We have a chance to put out a good 4X800 relay team. We’ll have people competing for places on that relay. It’s great when you have competition within your practices to earn spots.”