MIDDLEBOURNE -- Finally! Finally, track season has started and the Silver Knights look poised to put the competition to the test this season.
Returning for the boys' team are 10 track stars who competed at the State meet - yep!
"Beginning with a team of 27 Knights is an exciting start," TCHS Track Coach Jill Lemasters said. "The season is early and no decisions on specific events have been made. Some of the returners have set goals and it will be nice to see those accomplishments. Coach Joe Semple and I are optimistic and looking forward to filling the track events. The 2017 team has the drive, talent and potential to be a strong competitive team to watch."
"Boom, boom, boom, boom" - to take a line from Blues' musician John Lee Hooker's immortal track when describing the return of Trent Shepherd and Tyler Anderson to the Silver Knight's roster.
"They will lead the team with their speed in the open events, relays and long jump," TCHS Coach Jill Lemasters said.
This dynamic duo were members of the state championship 4x100 meter relay team. Lemasters said Shepherd's goal is to get his 100-meter time down to 11 or under. Anderson placed at the State meet and set the schools long jump record, jumping 21-4.5. Lemasters said his goal is to break the State Class A Long jump record of 22-01.75.
Levi Morgan and Jarett LeMasters are the returning top contenders in the State at Pole Vault. They finished 2nd and 3rd at the State meet. Jarett Lemasters' goal is to break his brother, Hunter's, 13'10" School pole vault record.
Their goals are to continue to fly high and set new heights," Coach Lemasters said.
Hurdle's squad form up!
"Hunter Wells, Nathan Barker and Jarett LeMasters will show their strength and speed at the hurdles," Coach Lemasters said.
These guys placed 6th in the shuttle hurdle relay at States. The Silver Knights lost Josh Peck, but Lemasters is optimistic about finding a replacement to fill out the roster. Barker and Jarrett Lemasters got their first taste of track season when they competed in January at Marietta College High School Icebreaker meet.
Leading the Knights in the distance events with many miles behind them are Gavin Corley, Destry Nelson, Brandon Bonar, Josh Frum and Dan Miller. Like last season, Corley has his heart set on getting under a 5 minute mile, Lemasters said. Several of these runners have already paid their distance base dues by running cross country in the fall.
"These boys will help us out in distance events, relays and field events," Coach Lemasters said.
Returning Knights in multiple events who always were full of promise throughout the season are Aaron Warner, Nick Gorby and Try Pittman.
"They have experience and growth to provide strength and talent to our team," Lemasters said.
Silver Knights' throwers this year will be missing Hogan Wells (West Liberty University) and Devon Harris (Glenville State College).
"They are both having success throwing in college," Lemasters said.
Dylan Glover, Jesse Doak, Sebastian Hooks and River DiBell have set goals and are determined to throw farther and make great marks throughout the season.
Knights had 10 new faces at their first practice who will help the team in relays, short and mid distance. They include P.J. Wright, Riley Leasure, Zack Placer, Mark Rucker and Jonathan Miller. Other newcomers to help in distance races and relays include Trey Keys, Garrett Littell and Brandon Wise. New throwers for the team are Jason Sharp and Garrett Littell.
The newcomers will make a great asset to the team," Lemasters said.
"The 2017 Tyler Knights came down to the track the first day of practice ready to compete," Lemasters said. "A team of 27 competitors will make it nice to fill many, if not all, of the track events. Returning are 17 enthusiastic Knights, 10 of them competed at the 2016 State meet."
In a future edition, the Tyler Star News will preview the girls' team.
The first meet of the season will be a tri-match on March 21 at Ritchie County High School. Good luck this year. As I leave to run in other pastures, know you will always be in this writer's heart.
And finally, these words from Isaiah, chapter 40, have meaning to many runners:
Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as the small dust in the balance.
All nations before Him are as nothing; they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity.
He bringeth the princes to nothing.
He maketh the judges of the earth as a vanity.
Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not; neither is weary.
And to them that have no strength, He increaseth might.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings, as eagles.
They shall run, and not be weary.
They shall walk, and not faint.