Numbers are high for Elko track

ELKO — Numbers are up, returnees are back and expectations are high, well, for at least half of the Elko track program.

The boys squad returns a strong number of athletes and had a large turnout with close to 90 athletes showing up for tryouts, while the Lady Indians have a lot of questions to answer this season after graduation took several top athletes.

“Right now, it looks like the boys will be the stronger of the two teams,” said Elko track coach Cody Krenka, who enters his eighth season at the helm.

In the sprints, the boys squad returns Jason Wilson, who qualified for state in three events. Seniors David Jackson and James Carter will also factor into the sprints, while newcomer Kyren Allen has caught Krenka’s attention as well.

Wilson was seventh in the 100 meters last year at state, eighth in the 200 and fourth in the 400. Two of the runners in front of him in the 400 were seniors last year so Wilson enters the season as the top returning competitor in the north in the event.

The 800, 1,600 and 3,200 races will be filled in by Elko’s state championship cross country team, including Kyler Simpkins. The junior competed at state last spring in both the 1,600 and 3,200 where he placed sixth and fifth, respectively.

Tim Rose, Matt Paul, Sam Brandow and Austin Shea are a couple of the cross country runners that could challenge for state berths in those races.

Eric VanKirk is back in the hurdles as the Tribe’s top returnee, and Jake Hanks will compete in the hurdles as well.

The Indians have about 30 boys interested in the throwing events — shot put and discus. Tyler Gowans is the team’s top returnee in the discus, while Tim Meo, Damian Nusser and Tyler Yocum are in the mix as well.

The high jump is wide open, but Krenka has seen some potential in the event with athletes like Marshall Dumas, Isiah Rodriguez and A.J. Jordan all possibilities. The trio were all part of Elko’s state runner-up basketball team.

In the long and triple jumps, Meo competed at state last year in the triple jump and is among the top three returnees in the north in the event. Krenka hopes to see what Carter and Allen can do in the jumps as well.

Elko has one returning state champ as Brendan Shelley is back in the pole vault. He won the event as a sophomore but missed the cut as a junior. He looks to reclaim his crown to close out his high school career.

“We’ve got a lot of new, strong junior and senior athletes out this year,” Krenka said of the boys side.

On the girls side, the team will need to make up for the loss of state qualifiers Anna DuBois, Kayla Carpenter, Christiana Rose, Shaeli Wilson and Shelbie Dorsa.

“It’s the most girls we’ve graduated at one time in a long while,” Krenka said.

As a result, several of the events are wide open for anyone willing to step up and make a claim.

In the sprints, Alyissa Williams, a move in from Eureka, Mirage Coley, Khiara Henry, Siana Carsrud, Lynsey O’Donnell and Marissa Richey are among the group of talented runners Krenka and his coaches will look to prepare for the postseason in May.

In the middle distance, Shay Digenan, Sophie Blair and Addison Watson are cross country runners that could make an impact in those races, while freshman Sideney Allen might garner some attention as well.

In the 1,600 and 3,200, the Lady Indians will turn to another pair of cross country runners in Kacie Bell and Katie Howard.

Elko has experience back in the hurdles with juniors Kelsie Gailey and Desirea Danner. Gailey placed fifth in the 100 hurdles last year at state with two seniors now gone that placed in front of her at the meet.

Danner was eighth at state in the 300 hurdles and also placed fifth in the long jump.

“She’s just an all-around athlete,” Krenka said of Danner. “She could be our biggest point getter.”

The rest of the jumping events — high jump, triple jump and long jump — are an open competition.

The Indians have one returning state champ back on the girls side and it is in the same event as the boys. Vivian Neff is the reigning champion in the pole vault and hopes to repeat the feat. Krenka said Madi Andreozzi will also compete in the event.

In the throws, it will be tough to fill DuBois’ shoes. Claire Micheli took fifth at state in the shot put and should improve her standing as two of the four competitors in front of her are now gone.

Senior Shayla Butterfield and freshman Iris Hernandez will train in the throws as well.

Krenka said the Fallon boys, Truckee girls and Spring Creek boys and girls will likely be the toughest teams in the north this spring.

“We learned a lot last year as coaches with the new realignment,” Krenka said of competing for a state title. “We also have more coaches this year, which should help with that individual attention. Of course, we also have about 30 or 40 more athletes out this year.”



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