Boonville Pirates track coach Ryan Lyons had two words to describe the 2020 track team: great potential.

Although Lyons may never get to see that potential with the coronavirus pandemic and the track season still put on hold, he said so far before practice was interrupted the turnout has been huge.

“This is excellent for my first year,” Lyons said. “I think we have some of the school’s best athletes.”

Of course only time will tell whether the Pirates are pretenders or contenders in the Tri-County Conference. With 26 athletes suited up for the 2020 season, Lyons said Blair Oaks and Versailles are traditionally good programs but with Boonville’s returning athletes and the newcomers, he likes the teams chances at first.

“Consistent work ethic and stay healthy will be the key to the season,” Lyons said. “Our sprinters and jumpers-triple jump and long jump in particular-should be among the best in the area. Also, we have some new young distance kids out that show great promise along with our coaching staff and our desire to be successful. Positive atmosphere has been created and will be sustained.”

At the same time, Lyons knows the Pirates will have low numbers in several events such as pole vaulting, high jump and hurdles. He said the team has almost no returning experience in those events.

“Our goals for the season are to consistently set personal records, be conference champions and send eight-plus athletes out of districts,” Lyons said. “Our motto this season is “Mamba Mentality”. We have a Kobe Bryant quote on our t-shirts and the kids are buying in more each day. The quote is “I have nothing in coming with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance”.”

If the Pirates are going to have any success this season, Lyons will have to rely on his sprinters and relay teams to score most of the points.

Lyons mentioned senior Tramell Coleman and sophomore Tyson Franklin as the two returners in both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 meter relays. He said with the addition of Trevion Coleman and Avian Thomas this season, the relay teams could surpass last year’s team, which won first or second in almost every regular season meet.

“Barring injury and botched handoffs, we are expecting lots of gold medals from this group,” Lyons said.

Tramell Coleman also returns in the 100 and 200 meter dash, where he won several first and second place medals in 2019.

Other athletes hat Lyons will take a look at this season in sprints and relays are seniors Avian Thomas, Dakota Rapp and Nick Ferrari, junior Andrew Wiser, sophomores Trevion Coleman, Tyson Franklin, Marquise Coleman, Hayden Mendez and Byron Thomas and freshmen Conner Baysinger, Caleb Martin, Landon Drew and Aiden Paustin.

Among the distance runners, Lyons said Ferrari and Marquise Coleman both return from last year.

Lyons said Ferrari’s leadership is invaluable and is already running faster times now than he did at the end of last season, as is Marquise.

“I look for them to be the pillars of our distance success,” Lyons said. “As far as newcomers go, we have Trent Maxwell and Brayden McFarland that will most likely complete the 4 x 800 meter relay and make this group more competitive than we were last year. Finally, I think we will be able to put together a competitive 4 x 400 team as well; this is something we were unable to earn points in last season.”

Others helping out in the distance events, which include the 800, 1600 and 3200, are junior Fisher Jenkins and Brayden McFarland, sophomore Marquise Coleman and freshmen Trent Maxwell, Hayden Williams and Alon McComb.

Lyons will also have his share of jumpers this season in Tramell Coleman, Trevion Coleman, Jenkins, Martin, Drew and Baysinger in the long and triple jump.

Marquise Coleman will also compete in the hurdles this season for the Pirates. Meanwhile, in the shot put and discus, Lyons will look to senior to seniors Alan McCarter, Brady Stock and Nathan Platt, juniors Kaullin Kosnopfal, Gaige Offineer and Harper Stock and freshman Logan Schildmeier.

Rapp, Schildmeier and Harper Stock will also compete in the javelin for the Pirates.