The Delta track and field team has some experienced competitors back for the 2016 season.
“Our goal this season is to simply set PR’s (personal records),” said first-year head coach Walt Steele. “Points and wins will take care of themselves.”
The strength of the Panther team lies with who they have back.
Letter winners returning for the girls team are Raegyn Price (regional qualifier), Mary Miller (regional placer), Breann Luce, Rachel Buchhop, Courtney Richie and Heather Layne. Back for the boys team are Bailey Storeholder (state qualifier), Devon Richard, Maverick Wright, John Mylnarek, Peyton Phillips, Tyson Cameron and Nick Jones.
“We have a returning state qualifier (Storeholder) in the 100m. We have a 100 and 300m hurdler (Price) working towards being a state qualifier this season. We have a transfer who should be really good in pole vault,” said Steele of his team.
The transfer in the pole vault he is referring to is newcomer CJ Leffler who came over from Springfield High School in Holland.
The main weakness for the Panthers is that they have small numbers.
“At such a small school (D-III this year), getting kids out is tough,” said Steele. “Competing with softball and baseball (for athletes) has been a real challenge.”
Another hurdle they will have to overcome is the fact that they lose 12 letter winners off last year’s squad.
Gone from the boys team are Tyler Fraker (state placer), Dylan Nostrant, Max Swartz, and Alex Lutheran. Furthermore, gone from the girls team are Morgan Mattimore, Brigan Wymer, Darian Elendt, Jenni Davis, Jessi Davis, Amber Shelt and Libby Munger.
But before they can look ahead to postseason tournaments, the Panthers’ initial focus will be aimed at doing damage in the NWOAL.
“The league will be tough this year,” said Steele. “Our goal is to be competitive in every event. Last year our boys placed seventh and the girls fourth. We hope to improve upon that positioning this year.”
Delta begins its track and field season on Friday with the Knight Warmup at St. Francis in Toledo.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010