After months of resting and preparation, California track and field is set to return to the track for another shot at the State Tournament. Head coach Eric Stout and his staff have spent the last couple of months recruiting students to the team and determining what events they can do.
"The goals and expectations I have for our kids include having fun, competing at a high level, and staying healthy throughout the season. We have a fun group of kids and I think they'll end up meeting each of these goals and expectations," Stout said. "Our coaching staff of Richard Matzes, Ashley Reno and Austin Baker do a great job of working with the athletes and ensuring that they are having fun while competing at a high level. If we can keep everyone healthy throughout the season, it should be interesting once we get to Districts."
Stout said his hope is to have several athletes have breakout seasons. California will be lead by a senior class that had several personal records and potential school records that they hope to break. Among those seniors are Ian Miller in the 400m and 800m run; Emma Braby in shot put, discus and javelin; Peter Dampf in discus and shot put; Griffin Booth in shot put; and DJ Schneider and Lanie Holtsclaw in javelin. Other seniors will be looking to have breakout seasons in their respective events are Hayden Hern, Abby Braby, Lauren Friedrich, Ella Percival and Alayna Butts.
"We're really looking forward to the open meets at the beginning of the season. These meets give everyone on the team a chance to compete and showcase their hard work. We have four open meets, and after that, we get into the bulk of our varsity schedule with competitions on Tuesdays and Friday's," Stout said. "The best events this season should include our girls and boys throwing events, 4x400 and 4x800 relays, as well as individual jumping events. We have a wide range of athletes on our team and we're looking forward to seeing their hard work pay off during the season."
Stout believes California will be a contender in both the district and state playoffs if his team performs the way he hopes they will. He said all the student-athletes are excited to get the season started and they hope their community will back them all the way.
"The California Pintos and Lady Pintos track and field teams are eager to get the season underway. We are excited to give everyone on the team the opportunity to compete. A great thing about track and field is it is inclusive to all types of student-athletes. Whether you are the most talented or not, we strive to work toward each person enjoying their experience as a member of the Pinto Track and Field team," Stout said. "Fun, competition, and health will be our top priorities of the season, and we would love the community to come out and support. We are at home on Thursday, March 23, and Tuesday, April 25."
The Pintos begin their season on Friday in Fulton, while the Lady Pintos begin their season on March 21 at Russellville.