Members of the girls and boys track and field team performs warmups during a recent practice. The team will hold a scrimmage Friday at home against Souderton at 3:15 p.m.
The Upper Perkiomen track teams enter the spring season with several state competition-tested veterans returning to the fold for what shapes up as a promising 2012 campaign.
On the boys team, coach Dean Wright welcomes back 2011 gold medal winner Ronnie Gillespie and state qualifier John Olson, as well as Avery Scripture, fresh off his appearance at winter track’s state championship.
“We’re looking to be competitive in the PAC-10 this year, regarding the sprints and distance,” said coach Wright, now in his third year as boys head coach and second as girls.
“We should be pretty competitive especially in the championship meets. Our goal this year is to have a winning record. We should be a pleasant surprise in the PAC-10.”
Gillespie is looking forward to duplicating his state-caliber performance in the 200.
“The 200, I think, is my best. I really enjoy that race,” Gillespie said.
The senior, who is headed to Lackawanna to play football, also has a personal goal to make States in the 100.
Gillespie is hoping that he will be joined at States by the 4x100 relay team he runs on. The other members of that relay include Erich Keyser, Ben Hammill and newcomer Robbie Hinson.
Avery Scripture is determined to build off the experience gained at the winter track championships.
“I have to train a lot harder to get to that next level. I definitely think I’ll make it to States in the spring. This time I want to place.”
John Olson, who competes in javelin and discus, is expected to return to States in the former and possibly capture a district championship.
In the field events, Wright expects Olson, who does javelin and discus, to return to States in the former and possibly capture a district championship. Carlson, a shotput and discus thrower, also got high marks from Wright who has lofty expectations for his athletes.
“We should dominate the PAC-10 with John Olson and Ryan Carlson.”
On the girls side, the numbers (38) are a little lower than Wright would like, but the good news is that there has been an influx of freshmen to build with, and several high quality veterans return to lead the youngsters.
As with the boys, sprinters and distance runners are the strengths of the girls team. “We have some quality girls in Dani Moser and Emily Rodenberger,” Wright noted.
Both are also hurdlers.
Senior Amanda Long, among others, will be counted on for the distance running. She also participated in the winter track state championships.
Long’s main focus is on the 800 where she wants to break 2:20. She will also be relied on in the mile and on the 4x800 and 4x400 relay teams.
“I’m hoping that I get to States this year. If we do well in the 4x4 this year, I’m hoping that we can get our 4x4 to States.”
Long, like Scripture, wants to apply lessons learned at winter States to improve her spring performances.
“I want to work on my mental strength during the races, definitely work on box strategy.”
The girls team should get a boost when junior Lydia Keiper returns to the fold. Keiper, whose main focus is the two mile run, missed most of the winter season with hip problems and has been rehabbing religiously to get ready for spring.
“I haven’t had any pain in a couple of weeks, and I’m just working on building up my mileage. I hope to be racing again at the beginning of April,” she said.