Whether they’re throwing something, running towards something or jumping over something, the Hillsboro Hawks Track & Field athletes are getting ready for the upcoming season. There is a laundry list of events and a litany of exceptional young men and women competing in them this season, assuming this pandemic-riddled world approves. Let’s take a look.
On the boys side we caught up with Head Coach Todd Medley and asked him about his crew this season. When asked to identify some of his standout athletes, he boldly stated, “Jonah Allison and Josh Allison, Cody Bishop, Tristan Jones, Zach McNees, Dylan Mooney, Zak Windholz and Sam Wright will all be major contributors for us this season. They should all contribute in various ways through sprints, field events and distance.”
As for Medley’s expectations for this season, he was modest but confident, saying, “Even though we missed all of last season, my expectations for this team remain unchanged. Every time we step on the track there will be an expectation to improve, compete and give everything we have.”
When asked about the strengths of this team, and what aspects will be a work in progress, he was blunt in saying, “I see two of our major strengths being our leadership from our upperclassmen and our depth. We have a lot of talent across the board. As far as what is a work in progress, I think some of our field events will be a major focus of development throughout the season.”
A team’s schedule can certainly change the course of their success in any given season. When asked about the Hawks matchups this year Medley said, “We have a very similar schedule to what we have had in years past, but we have also added a couple of meets to this season. We are returning this season to the Jackson Invitational, after taking it off the last couple years, and we are attending the Cape Central Invite this year for the first time.”
We asked the coach what some of the challenges would be with said schedule, and he responded with, “The biggest challenges for this year will be keeping everyone safe, healthy and protected with all of the COVID-19 regulations in place. Transportation to some of our meets will be challenging as well, but we remain very optimistic that everyone involved (school district, parents, students) will come together as one unit and this will not impact us on the track. One final challenge for all of us is going to be the learning curve with the switch to measuring everything by using the metric system in all field events…someone at the state level or a small group of people supposedly believe that this will be easier and better than using the imperial system of measurement.” Certainly an instrumental change, but not necessarily a debilitating one.
Finally, we asked, Coach Medley to mention any other players that might not necessarily jump of the page initially, but are poised for big things as well and deserve some recognition. He noted that Freshmen Payton Brown, Chase Sucharski, Nick Marchetti and Dalton Ross would be instrumental in sprints/field events. While Sophomores Jesse Gore and Gavin Vaughn should be watched in distance, with Mitchell Lutes in hurdles and field events.
As for the upperclassmen, Juniors Preston Estes and Cruz Valencia (attempting to go back and forth between baseball and track) will have a big impact in sprints, also Tyson White and Jordan Jarvis in throws, Tyler Winslett in distance and Patrick Lee in high jump. Seniors Max Hildebrand and Marcos Lopez in the sprints, and Lopez for vault, will add to the depth element of the team. Sounds like an impressive group of young men.
As for the Lady Hawks, we caught up with Head Coach Dina Holland, who gushed about her young female athletes. When asked who she saw as being her top performers this season, she exclaimed, “We are so excited to see what this season brings! Evie Roland is returning as a State Qualifier in Javelin in 2019, and we are also looking for big things out of Maya Wright, Kayla Vanhorn, Anna Crosby, Bre Langrehr, Hailey Genge, Cassidy Herget, Michelle Jones, Abby Couch and Lauren Nichols.”
We wanted to know Coach Holland’s expectations for this season, and she responded to the tune of, “Our expectations as a program remain consistent each year. We want to continue to improve and be competitive in each event, and carry over our best performances into the postseason.” Pretty straight-forward stuff, but certainly impactful words.
As for the strengths of the team, and what aspects does she think will be a work in progress, Coach responded with, “this season our strengths will be in the hurdle events and javelin. We have some outstanding upperclassmen who are ready to leave their mark on our program. They continue to lead in practice and that will carry over in our meets. We will continue to work on some of our field events to make big improvements.”
When pressed about scheduling and the challenges that will come with it in what could be a crazy year, Holland was very on par with Coach Medley in her response. “Obviously this year will bring many challenges. The health of our athletes and staff will be our priority. Our schedule is very similar to that in years past. Our challenges will be transportation and making sure we are always following proper protocol in a sport that has so many different events that take place over quite a time span.”
As for any other critical young athletes not previously mentioned, she noted that “vital members of our track team in the sprints this year will be Layla Klaus, Krista Miller, Sydney Buettner, Reece Buettner and Madelyn Shelby. We are excited to see the distance girls Riley Kruse and thrower Lauren Lalk, Kaitlyn Hindle and jumper Destiny Thomas.
That’s a lot of positivity and expectations, mixed with a good deal of uncertainly, but both coaches seem confident in their young athletes. Each of these Hillsboro programs appear to be excited and up to the task, but have a lot of work to do still. That’s the beauty of the season though… and you can bet they are all ready and willing to put in that work, and then some.