The Yukon track team will get the 2018 season underway at 3:45 p.m. Friday at the Edmond Santa Fe Track and Field Meet.
Yukon boys track coach Matt Parent said his team has been working hard in the preseason.
“Practice is going in full force now,” Parent said. “Over the last two weeks, we’ve been adding quite a few from basketball and wrestling. The ‘snow/ice break’ didn’t help much, but we do now have everybody out now, so that definitely makes us happy. Overall, the indoor (winter) meets went well for us. We got to see what we needed and had some standout performances too.
“Several of our guys are a little ahead of schedule. In the distance areas, Elijah Ankrom and Kolby McCoy did well for us and we had a couple younger guys that really stood out, Kohl Kimmel and Cade Pope. In the field events, Jack Gose and Zac Jones had great finishes in the pole vault and the shot put, respectively. In the hurdles, Kole Frederick and Blake and Chris Gerber did a great job. In the sprints, Isaiah Butler surprised everyone by placing in the 55m dash. He had only been out for a couple days, but he can really help us.”
Parent said there will be three areas of strengths this spring to start the season.
“Our strengths are hurdles, distance, and the field events,” Parent said. “Obviously, we are a work in progress, but these events have some stand out performers for us.”
Parent noted several areas that his team needs to improve as the season progresses.
“We really need to get better in the sprints and relays,” Parent said. “The bulk of the points awarded at a track meet today are in those events. If we can’t score many points there, it really puts the pressure on us to never have a bad day in our strong events. We have some younger guys that will mix with a few from last year. People like Isaiah Butler, Carvell McKinley and Parker Kenley will be counted on to keep improving to help us score in the sprints.”
Parent said some of his distance runners will be counted on to provide leadership for his team.
“Elijah Ankrom and Kole Frederick come to mind right now, but others will emerge, especially guys like Tyler Dechant,” Parent said. “Others include Elijah Wallace and Noah Hanscom. They are extremely tough competitors. They have just gotten out of wrestling, but they will definitely make their mark. I’m not sure that either of these guys really feel pain. Also, from what I’ve seen, Isaiah Butler has a chance to give leadership to the sprint crew. He has really been working hard as of late, and, of course, Jack Gose has a great work ethic and enjoys helping the younger vaulters.”
Parent pointed out several young athletes that have a chance to step up this spring and emerge for the Yukon boys track team.
“Kole Frederick (sophomore) will make a name for himself this year,” Parent said. “He is developing into a great hurdler, but he also can really run a 400-meter race. Both of the Gerber brothers are improving by leaps and bounds. I think they may see their share of success this year in the hurdles as well. Kohl Kimmel (sophomore) and Cade Pope (freshman) are developing nicely in the distance races. They are starting to learn how to run fast. I think they will really improve this season. As mentioned before, Isaiah Butler (sophomore) has a great shot at doing well for us in the sprints. He may also be able to help in the 4×200, 4×400, and the high jump as well. He is becoming quite versatile. If he continues to improve, he can really help this team.”
Parent gave his keys to his team’s success for the 2018 season.
“We need to see steady, continued improvement from our guys,” Parent said. “They already buy in to what their individual coaches say. They just need to stick with it. Also, we need to have all of our guys on the track every time. Staying away from injuries is so important. We have a very short season, so we need our guys to be able to fire every time. We will lean heavily on our strong suit events early, but I really think we have some “hidden gems” in other areas. They just need time to improve, and hopefully by the end of April/start of May, we can get them there.”