Dixie Track On the Mark
J. C. Tilton
Dixie's returning state long jumper Johnny Adams will anchor a strong Dixie track team. He is one of several returning letterman that should put Dixie in the running for the SWBL championship. Dixie did drop down a division this season and will be back at Division III for districts which will be to their benefit. The freshman class will supply some sprinters and the sophomore class will provide long distance. There will be newcomers at the discus and the shot put, so that will be a worry going into the season, how quickly will the young throwers get up to speed?
New sprinters for this season will be Eddie Bellman, Shane Linscomb, who should contribute on the relay teams. Jeremiah Johnson(regional cross country qualifier), Jarred Moore(regional cross country qualifier), Doug Thompson, and Jake Simms will be handling the long distance. The coach I spoke felt that Dixie has a strong team and should be in the mix at the league meet and maybe even at districts.
On the girls side Sarah Kelhoffer returns at the high jump - she placed 7th in the regionals last season. The team has lost two shot putters so that will hurt them in field events. The 4X200m team regional qualifying team returns 3 runners - Morgan Williams, Sara Kelhoffer, and Callie Frizzell, so they should be strong. Emily Dorsey qualified to regionals last season in the 1600 as a freshman. There are 6 freshman on the team this season. One of them, Jessica Lyons is expected to contribute in the relays. Although there are some good individual performers on the team, there is not much depth. And that can hurt at big meets. The team hopes to be in the top half of the league at the SWBL meet, maybe finish 3rd and send several athletes to regionals again this season.
One worry for both track teams is their facilities. On the day that I visited, they were working out on the blacktop because the old gravel travel was simply too wet to run on. When I asked the coaching staff about this they commented that it was difficult to get ready for the season with the current facilities. It is difficult to work on high hurdles and extremely difficult to set up the 300m hurdles. The gravel track has no marks so instead of coaching, the staff has to spend a certain amount of time each practice simply measuring and setting up the hurdles. If someone takes a spill, then the gravel really chews them up. On a damp day the puddles make it difficult to work on sprints. An all-weather track would really be a benefit for these athletes.
According to the coach I spoke with, efforts have been made to get something going to improve the entire athletic facility. The first order of business is to improve the bleachers in the stadium. He thinks that the momentum is there to get this done before next season. Once that is done, they hope that the next round of fund raising will go towards an all weather track as most schools in the league already have. He did concede that it could take several years to get this all accomplished. But the hope is to someday upgrade the athletic complex and have a complex that all can be proud of. Comments: email: Chris Tilton