Opportunities for team titles just dont come around all that often.
The Lady Braves collected their first in 2010 and finished as the runner-up last season while the Braves brought home a regional championship but fizzled in the state meet in a slate of missed opportunities. This year? Some strong individual performances will be on tap, but there is certainly not the proven returning times and marks that have coaches and parents crunching numbers at the end of April. At least not yet.
The Braves and Lady Braves track team will be led by a very strong group of distance runners. Outside of an occasional event or two, everything else will need to be home grown after putting together some memorable performances a year ago. But just how fast those skills grow is anybody’s guess.
“We have a unique situation where we have a solid but small group of seniors so we’ll be relying heavily on our juniors,” said head coach Ty Draney. “We have a huge bunch of youngsters; 21 freshman boys, so we’re getting them to buy into being three-sport athletes. Their excitement and worth ethic will help us make a charge at a title sooner than people might think.”
The Braves finished third at the Firth Icebreaker to begin the season with 120 points. The Lady Braves were also third with 100 points.
The teams will be at the Utah Valley University (UVU) Invite this weekend in Orem, Utah where last week’s rust from the Firth Icebreaker will have hopefully jarred itself free.
• 2014 Preview
The Lady Braves quite frankly are going to have to create some new icons. Ivy Myers and Hailey Ricks combined to win five state titles last season and left their marks all over the record books. Here is a look at who may make some noise this season.
Hannah Demler placed second in both the 1600 and 3200 meter events last year as a sophomore to teammate Ricks. Demler is even better this year but will be challenged by an extremely talented pool of underclassmen in the conference. Demler is poised for a great season and will likely compete in the 800 and 4 x 800 meter events as well.
Madison Ashworth placed in the 3200 last year and was just a few inches off the high jump podium as well. Caitlyn Turner, Aspen Heward and Tori Heap should help solidify the relays and will be challenged to qualify and score in other individual events.
Cody Peck & Nic Demler return from good times in the 1600 and 3200 last year, but have blown past those times already this year during the indoor season. In fact, Peck’s time at the Simplot Games would have won last years 1600 meter event by a full four seconds. They will be tough to handle in the 1600 and 3200 meter events as well as the 4 x 800 relay.
Tyler Allred and Sam Gertsch will combine for relay teams in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400. Gertsch placed third in the shot put and second in the discus and has his eyes on the school record in the latter this season. Jesse Sanders as a junior and a group of freshmen will push for the top spots on the team in the sprints.