Yukon thinclads look to kickstart season

Yukon’s Kyla Davis soars over the bar during a pole-vaulting event at the 2019 AAU Junior Olympics in North Carolina. Davis is the defending 6A pole vault champion and is part of the Yukon girls track team, which returns to action this weekend. Photo / File

The Yukon girls track team kicks off its outdoor season Saturday when it travel to Oklahoma City to compete in the Putnam City North Panther Invitational.
It will be the first of seven varsity meets this spring.
“That first meet, I want to see everyone competing and working hard,” Yukon girls coach Rod Zimmerman said. “These early meets show us what areas we need to work on at practice whether that’s the start of a race, something in their technique or conditioning.
“We want to find those things and get them ironed out as the season goes on, but we don’t see them if they are just going through the motions.”
The Panther Invite will start at 10:30 a.m. at Putnam City Stadium.
The Yukon girls are coming off an abbreviated indoor track season in which they took part in four meets during the winter. Along with the success they showed during cross country, it should enable much of the team to be able to hit the ground running the first couple of meets.
“After the cross country season, I think we will have a stronger mid-distance and distance crew.  Several of those varsity girls are with us in track,” Zimmerman said.
“The indoor meets showed us that we have some returning runners ahead of where they started the season last year and in some cases they are at, or ahead of, where they finished the season last year.”
Zimmerman also said the indoor season gave him an opportunity to evaluate whether his athletes were in the right events.
“We also saw that we had some runners we needed to move to other events, which is a good thing. We want to find where they can be successful for themselves and the team,” the coach said.
Along with the Lady Millers’ distance runners, the team has one of the better pole vaulting units in the state.
Led by Kyla Davis, who is the reigning 6A state champion, they enter 2020 looking to improve upon last year’s success.
“The pole vault with Kyla is still one of our strongest areas,” Zimmerman said. “Even though we graduated two members of that group last year, we have some younger vaulters who will move in and help in that area.”
Zimmerman also sees improvement in his relays and hurdles with the addition of some new talent.
“I think we will be stronger in the 4×800 this year with (Avery) Stanley and (Elora) Jones leading that group.  Our 4×400 will be a good group again this year with (Haley) Downing and (Shala) Allen returning, (Phoebie) Lewis is healthy after an injury at the end of last season and Jocelyn Jenkins joins that group with some other girls who can work their way on to the relay,” he said.
Zimmerman also is looking for success from his hurdlers.
“I also think our hurdlers will be productive. Lewis will be running there again and Jacee Willingham is back with the team, both run the hurdles pretty well and are really competitive.”

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