(March 22, 2019) About 90 Stephen Decatur athletes are competing in outdoor track this season. Approximately half of them have participated in cross country, indoor and/or outdoor track, while the other athletes are new to the sport.
Coach Jody Stigler said both the boys’ and girls’ teams are similar in that they will be strong in the field events and distance races.
“We’ll probably score a good amount of points in those events,” he said. “We have some returners and some younger people to mix in and see what they can do. We’re still trying to figure out where everyone fits in.”
Stigler, now in his eighth year as coach, will rely on his veterans to lead the teams. Two of them qualified for states last year and two others are four-year track athletes.
“Some others will contribute along the way. We’re just not sure [how] yet,” Stigler said.
Junior Caela Berrie advanced to the state championship in the high jump her freshman and sophomore year. She hopes to make her third appearance this year. Last year, she finished 12th in the event at states. Her goal is to clear 5 feet 2 inches this season.
Berrie plans to compete in the high jump, triple jump and some running events, either sprints and/or relay races.
She is using her experience to assist her teammates just starting out in the high jump.
“In the high jump, there’s girls with a lot of potential,” she said. “We have a lot of new girls trying high jump, and I have been helping them get their approaches and their steps right.
“We have a lot of good prospects for the team. There’s some strong runners and some good [athletes in the] field events,” Berrie added. “I hope to do my best in every meet and hopefully get top three. I’m really excited. I think it should be fun.”
This is senior Dori Krasner’s fourth year on the outdoor track team. She also participated in cross country and indoor track since her freshman year.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. This is my 12th season, my very last one, so I’m just excited to spend this last one with my team and give it one last good run,” Krasner said. “We’re all working really hard right now and I’m excited to see where we go this year.”
Some events she will participate in include the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter races, as well as relays, Stigler said.
She hopes to record her best times this season. Krasner also wants to support, motivate and encourage her teammates to achieve their best.
“For a few of them it’s their first season and they don’t know what goes on at a track meet so I’ll try to help them prepare,” Krasner said. “We have some girls who ran cross country and they’re returning, some girls who ran indoor track and did outdoor track last year who are returning, [and] some freshmen who ran the past two seasons and some newcomers, so I think the girls’ team is going to do pretty well this year.”
Senior Margie Rayne had a successful indoor track season. Rayne threw the shot put 33 feet 3 inches, good for seventh place at states. It was her first time participating in the event.
Rayne will compete in the shot put and discus for outdoor track.
Sophomore London Drummond also advanced to the state meet last year in the high jump. He tied for 13th overall in his first season participating in outdoor track. His goal is to hit 6 feet in the high jump this year.
In his second season, he plans to compete in the high and long jump, possibly the triple jump, and sprints and/or relay races.
He hopes to improve in all his events and go back to states this year.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to start.”
Drummond also wants to use his experience to help his teammates excel, as does senior Chad Fischer, who has been on the team since he was a freshman.
“I hope to lead by example. I kind of know what’s going on, because I’ve been here, so I can help them with the little things and guide them along,” he said.
Fisher will compete in events including the 400- and 800-meter races, as well as relay events. He is shooting for his best career times this year.
“I couldn’t be more excited. This is my 11th season running and I’ve loved every second of it,” he said.
Fischer participated in cross country during his sophomore, junior and senior years. He competed in indoor and outdoor track freshman through senior year.
“I’m looking forward to just getting out there again,” he said. “I’m a senior, but I have a lot of friends who are freshmen, sophomores and juniors. During the school day I don’t see them a lot, so it’s fun to get out here and run with them.”
Stigler said the goal is for his athletes to get better every day, every week, every meet.
“If they keep working hard, the results will take care of themselves,” he said.