The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 28, 2013

Schools get some practice

BY GREG FLINT
Commercial-News

COVINGTON, Ind. — The Covington Invitational usually marks the midpoint in the high school track season for area teams, but not so this year.

For some schools the meet was only their third or fourth of the year whereas others had competed in a more normal five or six.

Most schools schedule a similar number, but the vagaries of the weather this spring have caused the cancellation or postponement of many of the local contests.

Because of this, different schools approached the non-scoring invitational in different ways.

Attica is one of the teams that have had a small number of meets this year as well as limited practice time.

Red Rambler coach Sarah Mattern has a very young team with most of her squad being freshmen and sophomores.

“I saw a lot of improved times and jumps today,” she said. “We are using this like a practice — and we need more practice time — so I liked what I saw today.”

Mattern said she also was pleased that her entire team except those who had academic conflicts or had to work showed up for the meet.

“It’s our prom tonight, so a lot of times we’ve had kids not show up, but today everybody who could show up did and that makes me feel good about this team.”

Seeger has almost the opposite situation as Attica with regard to experience. They are a team with quite a few upperclassmen and they also have an indoor practice facility.

“I have to admit that being able to practice inside if the weather is bad is a big advantage,” said Patriot coach Miles Stuckey. “We’re always looking for good competition so we didn’t change much today from our usual lineup.”

He said one thing he likes about competing at the Covington Invitational is the all-freshmen events.

“We got to run some kids that usually don’t get to run in a normal meet,” Stuckey explained. “We even had some show me some things.”

Fountain Central coach Dave Bolin took advantage of the non-scoring meet to try different people in different events.

“We moved people around in the 4 by 100 and 4 by 400 races,” he said. “We haven’t had many meets so we’re just getting into meet shape.”

Covington coach Trevor Dickerson said his team, too, was behind where they would usually be at this time of year.

“We’re starting to come along and we got some good performances today,” he said. “Damon Hegg won the 200 and 400 and James Foley won the 1,600. The two of them were also big in the 4 x 400.”

One thing that frustrated Dickerson was the attendance by athletes at the meet.

“We have schools that don’t have some of their better athletes here today,” he said. “There are a lot of kids who are doing two sports – track and baseball or softball. Because they aren’t here today, we don’t get the level of competition we’d like to see.”

Despite that, he summarized the meet in a positive fashion, saying, “It was a nice day with good weather and some good performances out there.”

Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at gfphoto@gfphoto-web.com