The Whitehall varsity track team will rely on a strong work ethic and a potential-laden roster as it tries to continue the success from the past several years.
Although the team lost three Wasaren League champions — Jared DuRusha (long jump, triple jump and 4×100 meter relay), Kelsie Benjamin (shot put, second in discus), and Jake Evans (4×100 meter relay and three second place finishes) — to graduation, they return several talented athletes and will be bolstered by a roster that runs more than 40 deep.
“Numbers-wise, we are in real good shape,” said Justin Culligan, who is in his eighth year and will team with Mike Collier to lead the track program. “Those kids are going to be hard to replace, but we’re hoping hard work will make up for it.”
“The kids came in in good shape are a very hard-working group.”
Culligan said the team features a good mix of upperclassmen and younger students, and will be buoyed by the addition of several multisport athletes, who will compete on the track team while also participating on the varsity softball and baseball teams.
The boys, who have finished first and second in the Wasaren League over the last two years, will be led by seniors Toran Tracy, Zach Diekel and Dave Rich.
Tracy, who has competed on the cross-country, indoor track and basketball teams, will be relied upon for his leadership to anchor what could be a deep stable of distance runners.
Fellow cross-country runner Tyler Sweenor returns for his second year and will be joined by Tyler Perry, who has competed on the cross-country team for six years but is coming out for the track team for the first time.
Wasaren League champions Diekel (discus, second in shot put) and Rich (pole vault) will have a good chance to defend their titles.
“Dave has looked good. He has already cleared 11 feet and we’re only a week and a half into practice,” Culligan said.
Codie Bascue and Josh Hoagland, half of last year’s 4×100 meter relay team, will split time between baseball and track.
Evan McLaughlin (shot put and discus), Justin Hoagland and Brandon Steves will add depth.
The girls, who continue to enjoy an influx of numbers after featuring only a half-dozen athletes two years ago, will be led by Marion Gendron and Rebecca Lavin, both of whom are very strong in the jumping events and should fare well in the middle-distance races.
Ashley Millett, Janelle Cahee, and Maggie Benjamin, all of whom were on the indoor track teams, will compete in the throwing events, and Caitlin Sandford and Kendra Rocque have flashed some potential in the sprinting events.
Culligan said one of the keys to the team’s success will be finding the appropriate events for each individual’s talents.
“Once we find the right events for them, they tend to take off,” said Culligan.
“We’ll be looking for points anywhere we can get them. We should have all the events covered.
We are very excited about the potential that is here.”
Tues., April 3 Stillwater, Schuylerville at Whitehall, 4:15 p.m.
Tues., April 17 Hoosic Valley, Whitehall at Granville, 4:15 p.m.
Tues., April 24 Waldorf, Whitehall, Cambridge at Greenwich, 4:15 p.m.
Sat., April 28 Hudson Fall Invitational, 10 a.m.
Tues., May 1 Salem, Whitehall at Corinth, 4:15 p.m.
Sat., May 5 Glens Falls Relays, 1 p.m.
Tues., May 8 Lake George, Tamarac, Berlin at Whitehall, 4:15 p.m.
Thurs., May 10 Bemus Meet at Greenwich, 3 p.m.
Sat., May 12 Queensbury Invitational, 9:30 a.m.
Wed., May 16 Wasaren League Championships, 2 p.m.
Fri., May 18 Schuylerville Invitational, 4:30 p.m.
Sat., May 26 Section II Championships at Fort Plain, 10 a.m.
Thurs., May 31 State qualifiers at Johnstown, TBD
Fri., June 1 State qualifiers at Johnstown, TBD