Track kids should be plenty competitive
|ISAAC FITHIAN has returned to Prospect Mountain to finish out his senior year as a Timber Wolf. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
April 05, 2010ALTON — When the Prospect Mountain boys' track team took second place at last year's Class M-S Meet, the thoughts were, that with a strong returning group, the Timber Wolves would likely be able to be back near the top of the heap again this year.
Then star Isaac Fithian left Prospect Mountain for Sanborn, putting more than a few questions in front of the team as a new season approached.
However, with just a few months to go in his senior year, Fithian returned to Prospect Mountain and will once again be counted on to lead the Timber Wolves toward the top of the Class M-S standings.
"We'll be back in the mix again," coach Kristi Hikel noted. "Getting Isaac back is incredible and the other boys have all stepped up." Hikel is once again helming the team with John Tuttle.
As proof of that, the 4X400-meter team of Adam Cheney, Tony Ungarelli, Ben McGinnis and Greg Tinkham took first place at the indoor track state meet and that is an event that Fithian usually excels in and will only help in.
With Fithian capable of picking up 30 to 40 points in the middle distance events, the rest of the Timber Wolves will be asked to pick up the rest to help propel them to a state championship.
Cheney and Tinkham are both solid in the hurdling events and Ungarelli will run the 200 meters and 400 meters. Tinkham also has the ability to compete, and score, in a variety of events across the spectrum.
Ryan Soucie will be expected to compete for points in the throwing events, while Ben Iannotti will finish off his Prospect Mountain career looking to pick up points in the distance events.
A couple of freshmen have put their names on Hikel's radar as having the possibility of having good inaugural seasons on the Timber Wolf squad. Matt McGinnis will be a sprinter and jumper and Harvey Beck looks really quick in the early going.
"The boys should be solid, I'm expecting good things out of them," Hikel said. "It's the depth that I'm a little concerned with."
However, she also notes that she's seen teams win with less than the Timber Wolves have in their stable, so a return to the top of the heap is certainly a possibility.
The Timber Wolf girls have the potential to also be near the top of the standings. It's just a matter of living up to that potential.
"If they live up to the potential, they'll be really good," Hikel said.
The team is returning a number of girls from last year's squad, all with a little more experience under their belts.
Senior sprinters Erica Clemons and Amanda Macaione will be counted on to put some points on the board.
Senior thrower Caitlin Hussey has been at or near the top of the field in her events the last few years and Hikel once again expects her to shine in the shot put and discus.
"She could easily be at the top in shot put and discus," Hikel said.
Middle distance runners Courtney Bennett and Kim Sykes are also looking solid in the preseason and they have some competition from Becky Wright, a crossover from fall's cross country team and freshman Nicole Ouelette.
Karalee Jannini returns to the track for the hurdling events and will likely be able to pick up some points for the Timber Wolves.
Sophomore Danielle Tidd, who made New Englands as a freshman last year in the high jump, also returns as a multi-discipline threat. She has a goal of, by the time she's a senior, picking up four state titles and Hikel admits that it is a possibility. In addition to the high jump, she also competes in pole vault and on the 4X100-meter relay team and also wants to do sprinting events this year.
"She's a competitor," Hikel said. "And she also has a maturity about her. Last year was a good growing year for her."
Freshman Kelly Jones has good speed and should also compete for points, if she fully recovers from a knee injury suffered in basketball season.
Hikel expects Fall Mountain, Hopkinton and Winnisquam to be among the teams competing for the top spot come May and all three will be making appearances at Prospect Mountain this year, as the Timber Wolves host five meets this spring.
The great weather has allowed the team to prepare outside and while the first meet of the season (after deadline Tuesday, April 6) may not have featured long jump and triple jump due to water in the pits, the other events had been cleared to go.
The Timber Wolves will return to action on Tuesday, April 13, with a meet at Inter-Lakes at 4 p.m. The remaining home meets are set for Saturday, April 17, Tuesday, April 20, Thursday, May 6, and Saturday, May 15.