Coach Rick Carter heads into the Schuyler boys track season with great anticipation riding on the legs of his outstanding distance runners. Of the 36 athletes on the squad, he has several talented mile and two-milers who excelled on the cross country courses last fall and are pumped up to get started with the spring track season.
“Cristobal Gonzalez qualified for the state meet in the 3200 meters last year and Miguel Carrasco qualified in the 1600 meters. Both of these guys are back and looking to have outstanding seasons for us,” Carter said.
"Throw fellow senior Abner Perez into the mix and the Warriors have a trio of gifted runners who do well in the longer races. Chris put in hundreds of miles this winter and is hoping to move into the medals in the state meet this year.
"He missed placing last year by only four places. Miguel is also a very tough runner and I expect good things from him.”
Carter also added that he has newcomers in freshman Felix Cruz and senior Miguel Roman, out for his first time, who could provide some quality depth and help the team out. Cruz will be competing in the sprint events (100, 200 and 400) while Roman will be attempting to fill a spot in the 800.
One of the question marks looming over his squad is one baffling most teams around the state.
“When will we be able to get outside and practice?” Carter asked, “Weather has obviously been a nuisance this year. We still haven’t been outside to practice yet. Thank goodness we have an indoor meet coming up at Concordia this Thursday. It will most likely be the first time on the track for most all of the competition.”
When asked about team goals for the upcoming season Carter stated, “We want all of our athletes to get better.
"I am all about seeing my athletes improve and be the best they can be. Hopefully some will make it to the state meet, but as long as they improve, I will be satisfied. Some might never medal but can still have a very successful season.”
Coach Carter sees York, David City Aquinas and Scotus as opponents on the schedule that will field strong teams this year. He also stated that the top four finishers at state in Class B last year (Beatrice, Boys Town, Scottsbluff, and York) will be at the top of the heap again.
Assistant coaches on Carter's staff include Mark Wemhoff for the throwers, Jacquie Theilen leading the long and triple jumpers, Alicia Keairnes coaching high jump and girls runners and Joel Carrillo working with the sprinters.
“Joel Carrillo is a really nice addition to the coaching staff," Carter said. "Joel anchored our 3200 meter relay team five years ago to a victory at districts and also qualified for the state meet in the 1600 meters. Joel has been putting the team through some very intense core workouts these first two weeks. It is great to have him back this time as a coach.”
Doug Phillips is a freelance writer for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net