ELKINS - The Elkins High School boys track team will look to veteran distance runners this spring in looking to win the Big 10 Conference crown.
The Tigers will open up their season at the Connect Bridgeport Invitational at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Led by seniors Remington Knight and Austin Hamrick, along with 2013 state meet qualifier junior Matt Wallace, EHS coach Matt Lewis thinks the team will have an outstanding season.
The Elkins High School boys track returns distance runners, from left, Matt Wallace, Remington Knight and Austin Hamrick. The Tigers will open the season Saturday at the Connect Bridgeport Invitational.
He said newcomers - senior Cord Elmer and junior Chris Bodkin - will make an immediate impact in the mid-distance events and relays. The team will also look to a "strong group" of freshmen, including Dalton Hamrick, Brendan Wallace, Will Gongola and Jacob Earle to join the distance crew, he said.
"I feel really confident in our distance kids this season," Lewis said. "Both the Hamrick's will be running the 3,200 meter, while Matt will continue to be our main guy in the 1,600. Remington is definitely an 800-meter specialist and is hungry to make his first state meet in track.
"The addition of Chris and Cord to the mid-distance races is huge. They're practically two utility guys that can fit into any race. It's too early to really set my mind on who will be on what distance relay, but I feel pretty good moving anyone of them into that position. Having so many freshmen distance runners also gives me a lot of freedom to move them around and find out where they fit best," Lewis said.
Junior Daniel Crawford will lead the sprinting attack this season, while splitting time with the baseball team. He will be joined by three new faces - seniors Dylan Lucas, Zach Judy and freshmen Caleb Means. Earle will be trying the hurdles out this season.
"We're a little light on the sprint crew this year, but it's nice to have some strong athletes that will be ready to compete," Lewis said. "They're learning the ropes and getting stronger each week."
Senior Michael Beckwith will anchor the throwing crew.
He will be joined by senior Nick Dillon, junior Jerrick Reams, sophomores Brant Hyre and Oat Pimapransri, and freshmen Zach Hyre, Devan Ricottilli and Coby Keating.
"We've got a lot of guys out throwing this year and I'm really hoping they learn a lot and continue to get better from week to week," Lewis said. "They're a little young, but they've got great work ethic."
In other field events, Crawford will continue to compete in the long jump for the Tigers, while freshmen Brendan Wallace will be making his high school debut in the pole vault.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Daniel jump this year, he's gotten a little bit stronger so I'm hoping he can get more explosion off the board. Brendan on the other hand has been working in the off season on vaulting and starting him as a freshmen is a huge plus.
"I've been quite pleased with our work and effort so far in the preseason. The guys are really pumped and they're ready to compete. They've been a great group of gentlemen to be around and I think you'll see them get stronger each meet throughout the season."