(Dec. 7, 2018) With so many new athletes joining the Stephen Decatur boys’ and girls’ indoor track teams this season, the goal is for them to improve every practice.
“All the rest will take care of itself,” Jody Stigler, coach of the group for seven seasons, said. “If they get better every day, I’ll be happy with that.”
There are about 40 boys and 32 girls participating this year. More than half are new to the program.
“It’s still early, but I think we’ll score some points in distance events and possibly in some field events,” Stigler said. “We’ll definitely count on the veterans and hopefully we can mix in some of the younger kids. There’s a lot of underclassmen on both teams, so we’ll see where they fit in.”
He will rely on senior Kevin Beck to help lead the boys’ team.
Beck won the Bayside Conference title in the 800-meter race last year. He placed fourth overall in the event during the state championship. Beck crossed the finish line in 2:01.89 and broke the school record for the event.
Beck’s goal is to cut that time down to two minutes this season and win the state title. He also wants to repeat as Bayside champion.
“I’m excited for the season. I’m going hard, just leaving it all out there,” he said. “Everyone’s trying their hardest and we’re seeing a lot of improvement. We’re hoping to get a lot of points during the meets and be a good, strong team in the Bayside this year.”
Beck, a three-year member of the team, will compete in several events, including the 500-, 800- and/or 1,600-meter races and relays.
“He should be one of the top in the conference,” Stigler said. “A couple others will help us out, too. We’re looking for some guys to step up.”
Stigler will look to veterans Alyssa Romano (sprints/mid-distance/relays) and Gabby Izzett (mid-distance/distance), both juniors, and senior Dori Krasner (mid-distance/distance) to lead the girls’ squad.
Stigler said junior Abbie Baker would be a contributor as well. This is her first time participating in indoor track, but during the spring outdoor track season she went to states in the pole vault event.
“I can give the younger kids advice about shoes and about strategies for running, and I can just tell them what to expect at meets,” Krasner, a four-year runner, said. “I just hope to be a leader for the team and someone the kids can look up to.”
Last season she competed in the 800- and 1,600-meter races, as well as a few relays.
“Reaching personal bests all around is a good team goal,” she said. “I think we’ll have a good season. We’re all working really hard right now.”
After the first meet on Wednesday in Snow Hill, Stigler has a little better idea where some athletes may excel this season.
The boys’ and the girls’ squads both came in ninth out of 16 teams that scored points.
“I think both teams have some pretty good distance/mid-distance runners that we are going to rely on throughout the year. We also scored some points in relays and some in the pole vault,” Stigler said. “Our performance in the first meet was about what I expected. I wasn’t really as worried about the team scores as we were trying out some people in new events, etc.”