Buoyed by some key holdovers from last year, the Carson High School track and field team will open its season on Saturday by hosting a six-team meet.
Douglas, South Tahoe, Fallon, Rite of Passage and Dayton are set to join the Senators for the meet, which gets under way with field events at 9 a.m. at Carson's Jim Frank Track and Field Facility.
The meet will be a chance for the participating teams to get their feet wet before moving on to some bigger meets.
"The biggest thing is going to be getting a meet under our belts to see where we're at," Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. "For us, it's just another workout, although this one will be at full speed."
Among the top returnees for Carson is two-time state champion Shanna Sparks in the distance events. Sparks won a state title in the 1,600 meters as a freshman in 2000 and won the 3,200 last year in a time of 11 minutes, 19.79 seconds. During the fall cross country season Sheena Bonaldi, Cassia Roth and Sparks all cracked the top 12 to help Carson win the 4A state girls team championship. Terah Laack also returns after placing fourth at regionals in the 400 meters (1:01:09) and running a 2:24 split for Carson's state meet qualifying 4x800 relay.
"Our girls distance group is going to be pretty strong," Ackerman said.
Another returning standout for Carson is senior Josh Carter in the throws. Carter, an all-conference running back during the fall football season, placed fourth in the shot put at last year's state meet with a throw of 51-1 3/4. At regionals, Carter popped a personal record throw of 53-3 for third-place and he was also fourth in the discus at 148-11-1/2.
Since teammate Chandler Menteer -- last year's regional shot and discus champion and state shot put champion -- is now competing at Southern Utah, Carter is looking to move up to the top this season.
"Josh is a little bigger and a little stronger now, so he has the capability to win both throws not only up North but maybe at state," Ackerman said.
Another talented thrower for Carson is Taylor Mackenzie, who placed third at last year's regional meet in the shot put. She also placed sixth at state with a throw of 35-6.
Carson's boys also figure to be strong in the sprints with a group of veterans that includes George Pincock, Scott O'Brien, Jack Brooks and Matt Waterhouse. The Senators placed third in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays at the regional meet. Pincock placed third in the 400 meters at the regional meet with a time of 50.93 as a sophomore last year.
Josh Corder, a junior, should be an impact newcomer for Carson's boys in the distance events based on his third-place finish at the state cross country meet. Andrew Pederson, another junior, is also expected to contribute.