Boonville Lady Pirates track coach Melissa Baker had two words to describe this year’s track team: young and exciting.
With 28 girls suited out for the 2019 season, 10 of which are returning letterwinners, Baker said as a coach it is exciting when you get a great group of freshmen who are eager to learn and work hard.
“Our sophomore class excelled as freshmen and I am looking forward to watching them grow and compete this season,” Baker said. “There is a lot of enthusiasm right now on the girls team and that is exciting. The girls are starting to come together as a team, which should benefit our relays. I am excited to get the first couple of 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.”
With the switch from the North Central Missouri Conference to the Tri-County Conference this season, Baker said Osage, Eldon, California, Southern Boone and Blair Oaks always field a good track team.
“Even though the conference is tough, we are looking forward to the competition,” Baker said. “Our goals for the season are to continue to grow as individual athletes and have grit even when its hard, have grit even if you are long. I want these girls to know they can do anything they set their mind to and to work hard at achieving. I want these girls to continue to learn more about each individual event and what it takes to prepare to be successful, and 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.”
The Lady Pirates will find out soon enough where they stand while competing in the Mule Indoor Relays on the campus of University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg on Monday, March 18 starting at 1 p.m. Then, on Thursday, March 21, Boonville will compete in a triangular at California starting at 4 p.m.
Boonville’s only home meet this season will be held on Friday, April 12, which is known as the Jack McCush Relays, starting at 3:30 p.m.
Although the weather has been less than kind so far this spring, Baker said the strengths of the team seem to be the desire to learn and compete.
“With a young team it is hard to say specific strengths, but 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. “Again, the returning girls know how the program runs, come out and compete, so I am looking for these young girls to be leaders. However with 28 girls and 10 returning letterwinners, it’s getting acclimated to varsity track as our biggest obstacle to overcome.”
The obstacles should be minimal for sophomore Daylynn Baker and junior Lily Terrell. Baker returns after placing fifth at state last year in a time of 47.14 seconds for a school record. Baker also returns in the 100 meter hurdles after placing first in the NCMC in a time of 17.06 seconds.
As for Terrell, the junior standout captured first in her first year in the javelin last year with a throw of 102’-1” and third at conference in the pole vault with a vault of 8’-0”.
The 4 x 100 meter relay team, which also took first last year at conference in a time of 52.74 seconds, also returns Baker and junior Reese Lavers.
In the sprints, or the 100 and 200-meter dashes, Baker will look to juniors Arie Perry and Reese Lavers, sophomore Sophi Waibel and freshmen Katera Bonaparte, Kaitlyn Divine, Lexi Maddex, Layla Robinson, Lillian Rohrbach and Chloe Ward.
Baker said Perry was all-state at Grain Valley last year and will also compete in the relays along with junior Sabriya Baskett, sophomore Brooke Eichelberger,  freshman Payton Luscombe, Lavers, Maddex and Waibel.
In the middle distance events-400 and 800-Baskett will run the 400 while junior Kali Corbitt and sophomore Molly Amos will compete in the 800-meter run.
As for the long distance events, or the 1600 and 3200, Baker will look to junior Francesca Zecca, Amos and freshmen Olivia Eichelberger, Hope Mesik, Jadzia Pacenza, Rayghan Skoufos and Anna Thompson.
The Lady Pirates will also have plenty of depth in the field events, especially in the shot put and discus with six different girls throwing either in one or both. Competing in the throwing events for Boonville are junior Martha Waller and Lily Terrell, sophomores Becca Evans, Kaya Fenton and Aly Blank and freshmen Maddie Casey and Anna Thompson.
Sophomore Gracie Sadler will also compete in the javelin along with Terrell while Brooke Eichelberger will return in the jump events for Boonville.