With the season of spring comes a season of change for the Crook County High School track and field team. A new head coach joins the program as do several assistant coaches.
>Track and field team ready to fly out of the starting blocks
The season flies out of the starting blocks March 15 at the Ice Breaker meet at Mtn. View High School and ends with the coveted state track and field meet held in Eugene May 26-27.
"The two things I would like to see are growth and to be up to speed with the other programs," said head coach Bambi Fraley, who was assistant track coach and head cross country coach at Southridge High School last season and held the same duties at Class 3A Sherwood for the six years prior.
A lack of numbers has always been a factor for the Crook County High School track and field program and this year will be no different. The squad will again be forced to compete with programs such as Bend and Mtn. View, teams with a large quantity of athletes. But although the CCHS team may not have as much depth as some of the other IMC teams, the talent is still present.
"We have to focus on quality not quantity," Fraley explained. "To compete, we have to have growth and that's going to take time."
Returning to this year's squad are district placers senior Erin Clark and senior James Siers. Clark will focus on sprints and relays, while Siers will try to make the district finals once again in distance.
In addition to Siers, seniors Seneca Steber, Sam Carter and Ryan Vaughan will compete in the track events for the Cowboys, while sophomore Candice Austin will compete in distance for the Cowgirls.
One of the biggest strengths for Crook County will be in the throwing events. Senior Luke Vinson returns in the shot put and the discus, as does junior Brandon Jasmin.
"We're hoping to go No. 1 and No. 2 in at district," said CCHS assistant coach Mike Towne of Vinson and Jasmin.
Senior Shane Conklin will also take his turn in the throws, as will senior Eric Groves, senior Andy Gray, junior Justin Radabaugh, freshman Chad Swindle and seniors Jamie Richter, Kendra Cartier and Shonda Garrett.
Junior Andrea Lucas will compete in the relays for Crook County and will also compete in the pole vault. Sophomore Jenny Evans will take on the hurdles, while senior Sara Evans will compete in the 400 relay and senior Trinity Welch will look to make her mark in the sprints.
In the high jump, senior Ryan McCarthy returns for the Cowboys, as do juniors Trevor Abell and Jamie Swindle. For the Cowgirls, senior Kaki McLean will compete in the high jump, as will junior Misty Austin.
In addition to Fraley, Jacob Erwin joins the coaching staff as sprints and relays coach, Dave Davies joins on as high jump coach, Leslie Davies will help out with the girls throws, while Elsa Erwin will assist with all a variety of events and activities.
Coming back this year as coaches are Towne, Paul Harvey, Brian Connolly and Tracy Smith.
The coaches are not the only new aspect to the team this year. The Booster Club has provided uniforms for the squad while the district furnished a new high jump pit and parents of the team supplied other equipment needs.
"They went above and beyond the call of duty," Fraley said. "I am so grateful for them."
After the Ice Breaker meet, the season continues for the track and field team March 24 in Pendleton.
Coach Fraley said she aims to build structure within the program in an attempt to build a solid track and field team for many years to come.
"Great expectations lead to great achievements," Fraley said.'"Regardless of the number, each person can believe in themselves and believe in their ability. If that happens, we can achieve great things."