Camdenton, Mo. - The Camdenton Lakers' track team has been hard at work over the last few days, preparing for their first meet on Tuesday, March 19.
Like the other schools, the weather has kept the team from training outside as much as they would have liked, but Camdenton's coaches Nick Bruck (boys) and John McNabb (girls) have done everything in their power to make sure the teams meet the 14 practices required by MSHSAA.
"It limits everybody. Everybody is in the same boat," Coach Bruck said. "It's difficult to practice inside, but you try to get the little things done, coaching points taken care of, talk technique and hope for better days. We just do the best we can, use the days outside when we can."
And though the team has been able to practice indoors, it does limit what they can do. On Monday, the Laker throwers were able to attempt the discus for the first time, after finally being able to do the shot-put on last week Friday. The distance runners have been able to run the halls and outside in the cold, but the sprinters have had an interesting time running indoors, having to stop after reaching full speed so they could avoid running into walls.
But, as Coach Bruck said, you have to do the best you can, and the Lakers have beenmaking the best of the situation.
The team has a solid corps returning this season, with a number of sectional qualifiers.
"I feel like we have a lot of depth," Coach Bruck said. "We have about 35 boys out, which is more than we had last year, so that will give us a lot of different kids and different opportunities to compete in different events."
The boys' team returns five seniors, including the conference shot-put champ Chase Nungent and the two distance runners, Connor Brady and J.J. Ryan, who both had strong seasons in cross country. Justin Bernabe returned to track this season and will provide speed to the team. Junior Luke Burris looks to be a speedy competitor and a threat in the long jump, and Jacob Wise will do some work at the high jump and run some races.
The team finished 7th in the conference last year, but Coach Bruck thinks they will do better.
As for the district, the Lakers are in a tough one, competing against Hickman, Jefferson City, Waynesville, Lebanon and Rolla, to name a few.
The girls are also returning a number of solid competitors, and Coach McNabb is excited.
"I feel like we have a chance to be as good a track team as we have been in a long time," McNabb said. "We have a lot of kids that should be very successful. Obviously, for us, being in Class 4, we have to pick and choose where we put our athletes, since we don't have as big of a pool of athletes as other, larger schools. But I'm excited."
McNabb says the team has 26 or 27 girls out, and he feels that the majority of them will contribute. The team has high hopes, and Coach McNabb says he would like to see the team take the next step to winning the conference, after taking second for the last two years.
"I just feel like we'll be solid," McNabb. "This group has more depth. Right now, I'm looking at this group and thinking that I don't know if there's an event that we will not score points in. We're solid everywhere."
The team is returning nine seniors, including Colleen Magelky, who qualified for the state track meet in the high jump last year and Sarah Wages, who qualified with a season-best 1:00:53 time for the 400m. Abi Williams will sprint, run relays, and pole-vault. Courtney Folk will return to the triple jump, after she consistently improved each meet.
With the meet just days away, the team will be preparing in every way they can, even if they have to do it inside.
The Laker's first meet will be held at Camdenton on Tuesday, March 19, and will host a number of schools. The event begins at 4 p.m.