The Boonville Lady Pirates track team will rely on eight returning letterwinners early on to lead the way for the 2018 season.
After finishing sixth last year in the North Central Missouri Conference, head coach Melissa Baker welcomed 18 girls for the season opener Monday in the Mule Indoor Relays on the campus of University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
“I am excited for our 2018 track season,” Baker said. “This year we have a young team, but I have a couple strong upperclassmen leaders who are returning letterwinners as well. As a coach it is exciting when you get a great group of freshmen who are eager to learn and work hard. There is a lot of enthusiasm right now on the girls team and that is exciting. Overcoming injuries and working through aches and pains is always a challenge during the track season. The girls are starting to come together as a team, which should benefit our relays. I am excited to get the first couple track meets underway to see what we have specifically and what we need to do and work on to be at our peak during conference, districts, sectionals and state.”
While competing in their final season in the NCMC before joining the Tri-County Conference in the fall, Baker said the NCMC is always a tough conference. She said the No. 1 goal is to be competitive at each meet and continue to grow individually and as a team.
“We don’t have the numbers to bring home championships,” Baker said. “Kirksville was the 2017 conference champs. Hannibal and Mexico are always very competitive as well in the conference. We finished sixth last year to those other three strong schools. I know if our girls stay strong and healthy by conference time we can give those schools some tough competition in several events.”
Although numbers may be few this season for the Lady Panthers, Baker said the key to the season is the desire to lean and compete. She said with a small, young team it is hard to say specific strengths.
“I have athletes who have heart and want to get better, and that is what it will take to be a strong competitor during the season,” Baker said. “Jalyn Schnetzler and Anabel Carter are two strengths for us. These girls are leaders and committed to the track program. These two girls also lead by example and help bring the team together as a track family.”
Of course the Lady Pirates also have their weaknesses this season. Baker said of the 18 girls out this season, only eight are returning letterwinners so getting acclimated to varsity track will be their biggest obstacle to overcome.
As for the goals this season, Baker said she wants the girls to grow as individual athletes.
“I want them to continue to learn more about each individual events and what it takes to prepare to be successful,” Baker said. “I also want them to get a better grasp of how a team works in track and field. Enjoy the grind, it is fun to train and push your body to reach goals.”
Baker said the motto for the team this season is “We are a family”. She said it is important for the team to know they are a track family so that they can support each other through the ups and downs throughout the season.
“Everyone on the team has a role, and without each other, it is hard for a team to operate,” Baker said. “The goal of a strong track family is the optimal development of all members.”
In the field events this spring, Baker said she will look to Jodie Bass, Kali Corbitt, Brooke Eichelberger, Broklyn King and Reese Lavers in the long jump and Corbitt, Molly Amos and Lily Terrell in the triple. As for the high jump, Baker said Bass right now is the only high jumper for the Lady Pirates.
In the pole vault, Terrell and senior Kyleigh Skoufos will return for the Lady Pirates. Terrell will also compete in the javelin along with Gracie Sadler.
As for the shot put and discus, Baker will look to Becky Evans and Martha Waller.
In the running events, Baker said she will look to Bass and Schnetzler in the 100, Bass and Lavers in the 200, Schnetzler and Sabriya Baskett in the 400, Amos, Corbitt and Ashtyn Ayers in the 800, King in the 1600 and 3200, Daylynn Baker, Anabel Carter, Kaya Fenton and Hannah Coffelt in the 100-meter hurdles and Baker and Carter in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.
In the 4 x 100, 4 x 200, 4 x 400 and 4 x 800-meter relays, Baker said she is not sure where all the girls will go in relay teams.
“I can put together several options,” Baker said. “I want to put together a strong 4 x 400 team and 4 x 200 team. I’m not sure we have the top speed to be competitive in the 4 x 100 this year.”
2018 Boonville Track
3-22-California Relays, 4 p.m.
3-26-California meet, 4 p.m.
4-3-CMU Relays, 1 p.m.
4-5-Chillicothe Relays, 2 p.m.
4-10-Richmond Invitational, 4 p.m.
4-13-McCush Relays, 3:30 p.m.
4-17-Osage Relays, 3:30 p.m.
4-24-California meet, 4 p.m.
4-27-Fulton Relays, 4 p.m.
5-4-NCMC, 3:30 p.m.
5-12-Districts, TBA.
5-19-Sectionals, TBA
5-25-26-State, TBA.