Dove Creek track and field coach Jason fury expects 20 to 22 athletes to compete on his team this season, which is significantly up from 15 members at the 1A school.
There arent many seniors on the team, and Fury hopes this youth movement will spark his group in the right direction in the coming years.
I think the next three or four years looks pretty good, especially on the girls side, Fury said. We have a few boys that are freshman. I expect pretty good things from them, too, actually.
Dove Creek is the only 1A school in the 2A San Juan Basin League and will compete in the 1A state championships instead of 2A. To make it to the state championships, one must finish in the top-18 of an event or a team must be top-18 out of all the Colorado 1A schools.
For the Lady Bulldogs, senior Kyli Banks, who placed eighth at state in discus, looks to lead the way in the discus and shot put. Banks also will run in the meter relay events.
Im better at discus than I am at shot put, Banks said. Hopefully I can make it to state again this year. Thats what Im going to try for. My senior year has been awesome. Id feel great. Id feel really accomplished (going back to state).
Junior Morgan McCourt and senior Jenna Hankins are expected to step up in the 400- and 800-meter relay events. Freshman Madison Young might make an immediate impact in the throwing events also.
Im going to work with her a lot with throwing. Shes really strong, Banks said about Young.
On the Bulldogs side, senior discus and shot put thrower Tanner Wharton will captain the underclassmen throwers.
Im hoping to be able to throw farther than I have in the past, Wharton said. I would like to even do a little bit better when we get farther up in the track season.
Wharton has embraced the role of team leader.
I actually enjoy helping some of the younger kids learn what they need to do, Wharton said. Theyre a little uncoordinated, but I can get them to throw pretty good.
Sophomore hurdler Cole Baughman will run the 300-, 400- and 800-meter hurdle events, as well as do the triple jump. Being only a sophomore, Baughman has more experience than most of the Bulldogs.
They probably know about track as much as I do. Whoever trains harder is probably going to do the best, Baughman said about the freshmen. I think we have a chance of doing some damage if we get some of these kids a couple years ahead. Were really young. When were juniors and seniors, we should start really taking some people (to state).
Baughman didnt make it to the state meet last season, and he said that is his ultimate goal this year.
The season begins today at 9 a.m. in Farmington, N.M., at the Piedra Vista High School Invitational.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at firstname.lastname@example.org.