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Track and field: Trojans have good numbers for spring

AARON HAGEN Daily Globe WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington track team is a bit like a puzzle this year. With 95 boys and 50 girls on the respective teams, co-head coaches Doug Brands and Cory Smidt said fitting the pieces together will be a key this ...

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Returning Letter winners for the Worthington High School boys track and field team include (front, from left) Nathan Schuck, Frank Rogers, Andrew Huber, Adam Koller Chris Nelsen, (back row) Sean Souksavath, Stewart Merrigan, Emmett Bickett, Jackson Bonnett and Bryce Olsen. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

AARON HAGEN

Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington track team is a bit like a puzzle this year.

With 95 boys and 50 girls on the respective teams, co-head coaches Doug Brands and Cory Smidt said fitting the pieces together will be a key this season.

“Numbers are great, it’s great to have that,” Brands said. “But it’s been an extra challenge in getting names and forms and fees and all the fun stuff. Trying to figure out now where to fit them into the big puzzle for the season is definitely the challenge at hand.”

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“We just have to find them an event to be successful in,” Smidt added.

The Trojans open their season Friday at Murray County Central.

“They are doing more of a time trial type of scenario, they are just running opens, no relays,” Brands said. “It’s unlimited, so with this number and to get kids a time and let a bunch of them long jump and triple jump will be huge to set up the meets to come. I’m excited about getting out there Friday and letting these kids run and getting a better picture because right now it’s really fuzzy.”

Brands is in his 14th year as a coach of the Trojans, with six of those years as a co-head coach. This is Smidt’s 12th year in the program and his first as co-head coach.

“I’m just trying to build in Mr. (Ken) Henkels and Mr. (Mike) Traphagen’s legacy in the Worthington Trojan track department,” Smidt said. “I got the privilege to work with them.”

With a total of 145 athletes in the program this year, the coaches said being creative with getting kids to come out is a key.

“I think it’s because of the assistant coaches and we recruit,” Smidt said. “You have (Patrick) Mahoney, (Jessica) Hogan. They all coach other sports. I go everywhere, the YMCA, all around. And I think it’s the best sport to be in if you plan on being a good athlete. I think the biggest thing is the soccer kids came out; we haven’t had those kids come out.”

Because of the large numbers, the lineup will change as the season progresses.

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“There will be a lot of ebb and flow,” Brands said. “There will be changes, who’s in and who’s out of particular events. Ultimately when you get to sections and conference, it’s about finding the top four guys to put in a relay and your top runners and that kind of stuff. But there’s a lot of training between now and then.”

On the girls’ side, 12 letterwinners return. Brands and Smidt are looking at Emma Thuringer, Alyssa Williams, Jessica Darling, Sena Uli, Adamari Rangle, Nyiel Mayola, Taylor Eggers, Maria Contreras, Jessica Ventura, Janet Okello and Anna Meyer as top performers this year.

On the boys’ side, Obang Ojulu, Eh Kyoo, Stewart Merrigan, Nathan Schuck, Adam Koller, Andrew Huber, Christian Lietz, Jordan Melendez, Jackson Bonnett, Chris Nelsen, Matt DeSmith, Pwe Ku, Emmett Bicket, Davis Moore, Nathan Boneschans, Bryce Olsen, Joe Reveles, Sean Souksavath, Jon Keoduangsy and Alex Luong are expected to be the top scorers this season.

As always, the team is hoping to improve as the season goes along.

“Kids that stay out improve. Kids don’t go backwards if they come every day and work hard,” Smidt said. “We always want to improve during the year.”

Besides the section meet at the end of the year, Brands and Smidt circle Trojan Relays (May 16) as a key date on the calendar.  

“For us as coaches, you’re looking at when Trojan Relays rolls around, that’s a big one for us,” Brands said. “We want to perform well as a team. You don’t ever put kids necessarily where they want to be at that point, it’s putting it together as a team because we want to perform well at Trojan Relays. As we build from Friday to Trojan Relays, it’s about getting better. If things fall where they are at sections, hopefully we can get a couple through.”

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Worthington Trojans girls track and field returning letter winners are (front row) Jessica Darling, Jessica Ventura, Nyiel Mayola, (back) Janet Okello, Anna Meyer, Bianca Perry, Emma Thuringer and Alyssa Williams. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

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