Track and Field: Tigers look to build on breakout year
If last weekend’s season-opening meet was any indication, the Douglas High School track and field team’s breakout season last year was no fluke.
Coming off a regional fourth-place finish for the girls and an individual state title in the high jump for now Chico State freshman Ryan Bertucci, the Tigers picked up in late-season form over the weekend in Fallon.
The Carson boys’ track team just edged the Tigers, 92-90, in the four-team meet and the Douglas girls gave Carson a run as well to show that the Tigers will indeed be a force to be reckoned with this year.
We had an awesome season-opener,” Douglas girls’ coach Jim Abbott said. “We had five or six kids set personal records right out of the gates.
“We’re performing already at levels where we were at the middle to tail end of last season. It’s phenomenal.”
On the whole, the Tigers brought out another large team after struggling in the early year’s of boys’ coach Rick Brown’s tenure to even field enough athletes to fill out a full meet. This season 105 athletes are working out with the Tigers, with 35 freshman.
“We’re not just getting kids that will be able to develop into strong competitors in a couple seasons, we’re getting kids that can help us now,” Brown said. “There is a lot of depth out there on the boys’ and the girls’ sides. We have sprinters, middle distance, long distance, jumpers, throwers. It’s a great group.”
Abbott said that, talent aside, it may be the team’s collective spirit that ends up defining the season.
“They’re out there getting in the middle of the field, jumping up and down and chanting before practice,” he said. “The kids are willing to come out and do things. They get out and cheer their teammates on during races. There’s just a lot of things we haven’t seen in the past.”
One of the most notable improvements, Brown said, is in the senior leadership.
“We’ve been talking so long about bringing in so many younger kids,” he said. “So many of them have stuck around that now we have this large, talented senior class and they’re looking to come out here and lead this team.”
Douglas was nothing short of impressive in the season opener.
Junior Kyle Heidt won the long jump (18 feet, 10.5 inches) and the high jump (5-8) while junior Will Sheerin won the triple jump (39-.3.75).
Junior Jeff Nady took third in the shot put and fourth in the discus to give Douglas its first points in throwing events in quite some time.
“The fact that we had athletes scoring in throwing events was huge,” Abbott said. “(Assistant coach) Joe Andrews has really got his group coming around. They’re starting to show improvements with the offseason work they’ve done and their technique has really improved.
“The whole meet was like that. We had surprises in events we weren’t expecting.”
Artie Barkley took sixth in the 100 and Trevor Jarland took seventh.
Jake O’Farrell took third in the 200 with a time of 24.4 seconds, and the Tigers had an exceptional showing in the 400 with Sheerin taking second (53.9), Hunter Riddle taking third (57.5) and Hedit taking fourth (58.1). Bill Sunderland finished in fifth with a time of 58.9.
Spencer Lewis won the 800 with a time of 2:13.4 while Robert Shawhan took fifth with a 2:24.4.
Lewis finished second in the 1,600, followed by Derrik Jenkins in third, Corey Trujillo in fifth and Scott Lococo in sixth.
Trujillo turned around and won the 3,200, with Lococo taking second.
“Corey really put in a lot of work during the summer and then did a lot of running after cross country season,” Abbott said. “This was his first win at the varsity level and he set his PR by nearly 40 seconds in the event. He set a PR in the 1,600 by nearly 20 seconds. His work is really starting to show.”
Chris Winberg took fourth in the 110 hurdles, followed by Fernando Ramos in fifth and Michael Banks took second in the 300 hurdles, with Ramos taking fifth.
Douglas took second in the 4×100 relay and third in the 4×400 relay and won the 4×800.
On the girls’ side, the 4×800 relay team took second, the 4×400 squad took second and the 4×100 team took third.
“We have so much depth in our relay squads this season,” Abbott said. “We’d have just about four runners for each last year, but this year we’re looking at seven or eight for each. It gives us a lot of flexibility.”
Jessica Gorton took fourth in the 110 hurdles.
Alicia Sturgess won the 800 and took second in the 1,600 with Taylor Biaggi taking fifth in the 800 and sixth in the 1,600. Krista Castro finished just behind Biaggi in each event. Sturgess also won the high jump.
Cami Arend took third in the high jump and Whitney Bullion finished fifth.
Skylar Young won the 400 with Martisha Lopez taking fourth and Kaitlin Babbitt taking fifth.
Young finished fifth in the 200, with Natasha Brown and Gorton taking seventh and eighth.
Ne’Jae Jackson took third in the 100, followed by Liz Nickles in fourth.
Christine Ward won the shot put and Ashley Schreiner took third. Schreiner took second in the discus and Ward took third.
Gorton took second in the triple jump and Brown took third.
Brown took second in the long jump, Gorton took fourth and Sara Isaacs, Nickles and Arend took seventh through ninth respectively.
Douglas will be moving to the soccer field for the second consecutive season as work restarts on the all-weather track in a couple of weeks. Coaches are holding out a slim hope that the track will be ready in time for preparations for the regional championships, but with the unpredictable weather, it remains unlikely.
“All these kids are out here because they know something special is coming,” Brown said. “Once they get a chance to see this facility completed, we expect that our numbers will only go up. With the success the team has been having and with the quality of the facility they will be running on, it’s something they’re going to want to be a part of.”