When Maryville track and field started its practices for the 2018-19 season last week, the team focused on preparing for the future and bettering its finishes as compared to last season’s ending.
“We bring a lot of guys back that had a lot of success last year,” coach Nathan Powell said. “We didn't have as many state qualifiers last year as we did the year before, but we bring a lot of those guys that were there last year back.”
With key athletes like sophomore Serena Sundell moving on to focus on basketball and Caleb Feuerbacher moving on after graduating, several newcomers and underclassmen have come forward to help out the team in both their individual events and in various team events.
“I think we have a lot of good freshmen coming in,” junior Molly Renshaw said. “I think all of the freshmen will help us build our program and our foundation and get points here and there.”
Not only is the team experiencing a new force in underclassmen and first-time track athletes, but a lot of the pressure is still on the upperclassmen to bring the team together and rack up a majority of the points.
“Jason Bagley is a senior for us and did well last year,” Powell said. “Jordan Piveral; another senior who’s going to do well. We’ve got a lot of talent there, and I’m just excited to see how they do.”
Although the team is ready to get the season started, the weather is a big obstacle. With the first meet set to start at Northwest March 16, the team has done everything it can to try and adapt to the recent weather we’ve been having.
“Being inside is kind of hard for us, especially for me with hurdles and high jump. I can’t really do those inside. I think when we finally get outside we’ll do good,” Renshaw said.
With members leaving, illness taking a toll on the athletes and the weather a constant threat to practice, the Spoofhounds have still found a way to focus on the future. Preparing for future meets and, eventually, the postseason is a key aspect of their training right now.
“On the guy’s side, I think our goal is to win the conference track meet. We want to have a better showing at state this year,” senior Jason Bagley said.
With a growing team and a competitive drive unlike that of the last few years, the Spoofhounds are building a strong team, not only for this year’s run but for many years to come.
As Maryville has come to be known as a football or basketball town, many track athletes want to make a name for themselves and bring another sense of pride back to the town.
“We want to make our presence known at track meets. I think this year, with our numbers, I think we can really start showing up and start building our program,” Renshaw said.