SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW: Marshall track and field
MARSHALL — In 2019, the Marshall boys and girls track and field teams saw another strong season, with a pair of relay teams and an individual qualifying for the state meet. After not being able to compete last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marshall will look to make its way back to state under coaches Marie and Dave Sample.
On the boys side, coach Dave Sample said one of the key adjustments going into this season will be figuring out the number of athletes that get to participate in different events with each meet, but added they’re excited to just be able to get back out onto the track and have the opportunity to compete.
“The numbers are a challenge just because having to narrow down the entries with the races to meet the limit of individuals going is definitely a challenge,” he said. “Hopefully we can get that worked out and develop a system to make sure we can get everybody the participation we want them to have and hopefully not get the kids discouraged because they may not be able to go to as many events as they would like to participate in. But I think everybody is excited to be back, we lost a year with all of these kids so it’s exciting to see all of the faces we have returning and it’ll be fun to see what they can do in the upcoming meets.”
He said they will have a lot of athletes returning from the 2019 season, including five seniors in Owen Holmberg, Eli Salisbury, Ashton Schnaser, Kongmeng Vue and Landon Wherry. He added they’ll look to rely on their veteran leaders as well as have multiple underclassmen step into larger roles.
“Eli was on that 4×800 relay team that was really good a couple of years ago and competed really well at state, so we’re looking for big things from him,” he said. “Our throwers are looking pretty competitive and it’ll be fun to see what they can do and we’re really young across the board in a lot of our other areas, so we’ll have a lot of up-and-comers.”
Dave added he hopes they are able to get a complete season in and he’s looking forward to seeing what they can do as a group.
“Hopefully we get a complete season and things open up more and we can start to get everybody more involved,” he said. “We don’t know what we’re going to expect yet, we’re still a young team that getting out of the starting blocks and that’s part of the fun of it is seeing what we can do and see how competitive we can make our team.”
On the girls side, coach Marie Sample said they will have more newcomers than returners this season, but will have a balanced group led by Danya Estrada, Leah Matzner, Bri Simpson, Bellamy Sukalski, Allyson Sample and Miracle Tucker.
“Danya will be great for us in the jumps and relays, Bri will also be great in the relays and Leah is a returner in the high jump,” she said. “On the distance side, we’ve got Bellamy, Miracle, Allyson, basically that cross country team has reassembled out on the track. We’re also looking for people at pole vault and in throws, but we’ve got a lot of young kids who are interested in working and learning those things.”
Marie said an area of strength for their team will be their veteran leadership, adding they are always wanting to compete and improve and do a good job of mentoring the younger athletes.
“We’ve got very good leadership with the kids that have returned. They’re hard workers and are excited and willing to be here and they’re very good about mentoring the younger kids that are here,” she said. “And then just being eager to compete. We didn’t get to do it last year, especially those veterans who had to sit out, they’re all just really eager to get back out there and do what they love to do.”
Going into the season, Marie said they just want to take things one day at a time and continue to work towards their goals.
“Just to take it one meet at a time, one practice at a time and just really take this nice group of kids and have them get a good experience and really get them into that competitive mode and thinking about setting some big goals and working towards getting there,” she said.