Hounds Teams Have Cabin Fever
J. C. Tilton
I visited the Dixie Greyhounds spring sports teams this past week. It was a dreary week, with snow, fog, and yucky weather in general. Monday the track teams made it outside, but the weather went downhill from there. The athletes were dutifully working inside, but you could tell that they were eager to get outside and work out. They were getting cabin fever from being confined indoors.
Coach Tony Dalton will be taking the helm of the successful Dixie Boys track team this spring. The team won both district (Division 3) and league last season. I was able to speak to assistant coach Brad Miller about the running Hounds prospects for this year. They are excited about having state winner Doug Overholtz back in the Long Jump. Two good distance runners will be coming back one of which is Aaron Johnson, Fred Metcalf is back in shot and disc. Ryan Sturgill is a returning hurdle district champ. Miller mentioned that the team "lost a few, but we have some good athletes coming back". However the coach did note that the team did have a problem - "Not as much depth... about 15 guys are out". With the success of last season, it is surprising that the numbers of athletes would be down. And this is not a good year to have down numbers. Dixie will be in Division 2 this year. So they will compete against bigger schools in districts. Miller thinks that Bellbrook and Valley View "not as strong in track, but some very good athletes" will be the teams to beat in Districts. In the league meet, he expects Northridge to compete for first, "we thought that they would be with us last year, but we had some really good individual performances." So without the depth of last years team, Dixie will need to count on some outstanding individual performances in order to equal the success of last season.
Coach Fugaat was asked to assess the Dixie Girls track team. She is happy to have back Courtney Wilder in hurdles and high jump; Rebecca Kloth in shotput (placed in league meet); and Carrie Thomas shot and disc. The rest of the team is young with a lot of freshman. It is difficult to guage at this point in the season if very many of the young athletes will be able to score points. The team lost Natalie Denning who did the 400m and high jump. They lost an injured long jumper out for 8 weeks. And a regional qualifer in the shotput is also lost for season. These losses decimate an already lean team with just 13 girls out this season. Last season the team finished a respectable 3rd in league. This year the team will really need to push itself and have some young runners step it up to be successful. Interestingly, I found out that Dixie track does not do either boys or girls pole vault for liability reasons. As a track fan, I hope that this issue is addressed - obviously surrounding schools have pole vaulters. It would be shame if there is a young athlete with the talent to be a scholarship vaulter, but never achieves their potential because the district does not allow their track athletes to participate in this event.
The next coach interveiewed was coach Miller for the boys varsity baseball. Three top returners are Ben Saunders at shortstop, Tom Mitchell, and Dave vonBaron. This years team will be young with just 3 seniors and 3 juniors. So it will be a young team with a lot of freshman. The coach is looking at two freshman who may be able to contribute at the varsity level. There are a total of 19 players out this season - not quite enough to justify a reserve team. So playing time could be lean for a few of the freshman players. The coach hopes to be able to work everyone into the lineup, but that could be a tough task. When asked who he expected to compete for first in the league, Coach Miller speculated that Middletown Madison and Carlisle would be top contenders.