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Injuries led to opportunities for Springfield boys track team

5/23/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield High School boys track coach Matt Graves said injuries and inexperience were key factors of the team’s season, but he said it’s the kind of year that can help the program in the future.

“This year’s team is young. To make matters worse, we lost four of our veterans to injuries,” he said. “But pretty much everybody got better as the year went on. The best improvement was probably by our throwers, who got better at the end of the year, and our distance team. The times were definitely better for the distance team.”

Graves said a number of younger athletes stepped up and gained valuable experience this season.

“They got experience and they know what they have to do for next year. I think they really started to relish that,” the coach said. “They know the times they have to get and the distances they have to get. It’s going to help them down the road. They know they need to step up and work hard in the offseason.”

The seniors on this year’s team (with comments on each by Graves) are:

  • Caleb Moye, mid-distance: “Caleb is an outstanding young man. He anchored our 4x800 team and ran the mile and the 800.”
  • Brody Westover, hurdler: “He did not run very much. He was hampered by injuries.”
  • Jeremiah Campbell, high jump and 400 meters: “He is our best high jumper.”
  • Russell Powell, first-year sprinter: “Russell did a great job. He got us a lot of points in the 100 and 200 meters. I wish he had joined when he was a freshman.”
  • Ryan McCune: “Another first-year senior, he ran the 100 meter and was a thrower.”

The junior class is led by distance runner John Martin.

“He is a stand-out junior,” the coach said. “He gets better every day in the mile and 2 mile.”

According to Graves, Springfield’s juniors were especially hit hard by injuries this season.

“[Hurdler] Colton Westover, like his brother, was hurt most of the year. But he has potential,” the coach said. “Tyler Banig, sprinter, excelled in 400 meters but also fought injuries. Zach Younkin threw shot and discus, but suffered a back injury.”

Rounding out the junior class are: Tony McMullen, mid-distance; and Logan Treen, first-year thrower.

Among the underclassmen, Graves said, DeAndre Andrus is one of the young athletes who showed promise this season.

“DeAndre Andrus is our best long jumper and still learning to become a sprinter,” he said. “He’s still discovering what it takes to realize his full potential.”

Other underclassmen who flashed potential this year, Graves noted, include: freshman James Williams, distance; sophomore David Carlyn, distance; sophomore Damon Rupert, hurdler; sophomore Chad Morrison, thrower; freshman Jonathon Michaels, distance; sophomore Ross Reeves, mid-distance; and first-year sophomore throwers Josh Hako and Danny Mook.

“All, along with the juniors, will help this team be competitive next year,” Graves stated. “They worked hard this year. They have an incredible work ethic. We will be better next year. There will be huge strides made towards improvement.”

Graves is in his 10th year as the team’s head coach.

“I get help from the girls’ head coach, Jodi Burgess, and volunteer throwing coach Michelle Martin,” he said. “And junior high coaches Aaron Skeggs and Tim Burns provide help.”

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