Silver Knights Take Strides Toward Successful Season
MIDDLEBOURNE – The Silver Knights’ track teams appeared poised for greatness this year, according to the coaches.
Last week, the teams were busy doing multiple drill designed to prepare the athletes for a burst of speed around the track. The first meet of the season is scheduled for March 22 at Ritchie County High School.
“I think the boys’ team is very solid,” said Joe Semple, assistant boys’ track coach. “We’ve had more boys come out than we’ve had for several years.”
Tyler’s boys finished third in the region and qualified several runners for the state event and then went onto glory at the state level. Tyler’s boys shuttle hurdle team of (Josh Peck, Ted Cerny, Hunter Wells and Andrew Kocher) placed second to win the silver at the state meet. Tyler Anderson placed second and won the silver in the long jump.
“Last season, we finished fifth in the state when we had fewer guys,” Semple said. “We left some points down there that we should have brought home.”
The Silver Knights return with a full roster.
“For the most part, we got everybody back, but so does everybody else,” Semple said. “We may end up in the same spot this year, but that depends. A lot of things have to fall in place for us. We have some strong seniors. We haven’t had that in awhile.”
Semple mentioned Daron Weekley as a middle-distance runner senior standout, who consistently runs a few seconds over 2 minutes for the 800 meter run.
“I think he’s going to go under that this year,” he said.
Semple mentioned Federico Perez, a senior, who runs distances short and long.
“I can use him just about any place from the 4×100 up to the 4×800,” he said. “Perez is a really versatile guy, probably our most versatile.”
Josh Peck focuses primarily on the hurdle-events, Semple said, but can run the 4×800 when needed as well as sprint relays.
“Peck is pretty versatile too, much like Perez,” he said.
Semple expects great things from Trent Shepherd and Anderson.
“They are two guys who we counted on with our relays last season,” he said. “Shepherd is a 100-meter and 200-meter guy. He’s worked all winter including some indoor track meets. Tyler made it all the way to the state and he’s coming back.”
Semple said this season’s distance squad is “young, but they look promising.”
“Our guys are young, so it depends on how much they mature this year. That’s just a big question mark. There’s a big difference physically between a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old in competition,” he said.
Overall, Semple is optimistic and planning for another solid run at the state meet.
“From day one, I look across and see what I have and trying to think ahead,” said Semple, who has been coaching for 26 years. “When you coach, you have to plan for the end of the season and then work your way back. You have to determine what you have to do to get this kid to the state meet. I’m always looking at the state meet. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Girls’ track coach J.C. Kimble is optimistic that a solid season ahead particularly since the team is coming off three consecutive regional championships. Last season, the Lady Knights won the Region 1 Track Championship as they nosed out Magnolia. Six seniors have returned.
“We hope it will be a good season,” he said. “We’ve got a really, really hard region probably one of the toughest regions in the state. Magnolia, St. Marys, Wheeling Central, Clay Battelle all those teams they are very good. It’s going to be an extremely tough region this year.”
Kimble said the school’s highly successful state champion 4×100 relay team is gearing up again for another season, which was less than a second off breaking the state meet record last season when the team of Macy Long, Ariel Fish, Katelyn Gogan and Sydney Glover brought home gold medal from Charleston.
“We have a lot of parts coming back,” he said. “Last season, I thought we were close to being the state track meet record in this event 4×100. That’s one of the goals I have for the team. We weren’t exactly healthy last year, but we won in that event.”
As to the school’s long distance team, Kimble gave credit to Coach Brenna Haggerty’s influence and training with the girls to build their distance base to a place where they will be competitive this season. Sophomore Katie Pratt, who competed in the fall at the state cross country championship, was practicing last week and is ready to run. Jahnvi Duncan, a junior, who placed 26th at the regional meet cross country meet in Cameron but narrowly missed a spot at the state cross country championship, is also returning to the fold.
“Jahnvi and Katie they are going to be the mainstays of our distance team,” Kimble said. “I think cross country prepared them for the upcoming season.”
The first meet of the season pits TCHS against Williamstown and Ritchie County High School.
“This is basically the meet that I look at to see where we are so that I can determine what we have to do to get better,” Kimble said. “That meet will show us exactly where we sit.”