Track Timber Wolves a young bunch



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GREG TINKHAM is one of the top returning athletes for the Prospect Mountain track team. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
April 04, 2011
ALTON — Mother Nature hasn't exactly been cooperating with the Prospect Mountain High School track team, but coach Kristi Hikel knows that every other team is in the same boat.

"A lot of schools don't have anything," Hikel said. "We kind of anticipated not doing field events (at Tuesday's home meet)."

The Timber Wolves have been lucky in the fact that they have had use of the track for practice, but the area surrounding the track still has snow on it and field events have been an issue for the Timber Wolves.

The Prospect team will also feature a lot of young talent, with 11 boys and 15 girls representing the freshman class, more than half of each team's total number of athletes.

"We're a very young team, but they look pretty good," Hikel said. "It's a huge freshman squad."

The 29 Timber Wolf girls will be led by three seniors, all returning to the track for another year with tons of experience under their belts.

Courtney Bennett will return to run distance events, coming off a record-setting indoor track season and a strong cross country season in the fall.

Fellow senior Karalee Jannini returns to the fold to run the hurdle events after making solid strides last season.

Kelsey Hannafin will run the 4X100-meter relay and will also run the 100 meters and will likely jump in the long jump and triple jump as well.

"They'll stick there like they have the last four years," Hikel said.

Sophomore Taylor Dwyer returns to the team having improved greatly during the offseason. Hikel is pleased with her quickness and she will likely step into the 100 and 200 meter events.

Sophomore Anna Jortikka will be returning for another season in the high jump, where she excelled last year and during indoor track.

Sophomore Dagny Brown will also return to the team to run the sprint events.

The team has a load of newcomers, but Hikel pointed to a few who stand out from the crowd.

Freshman Jamie Dwyer is quick and fast and will likely get a good look in hurdles, while sophomore Sarah Simoneau is also quite quick and should make her mark. Freshman Mikayla Cauler is looking like a solid addition to the middle distances.

"We're definitely building a program this year," Hikel said. "We definitely see lots of potential in there and we'll see what happens as the season unfolds."

She noted that the girls' team features a lot more speed than they've seen in the past.

The 20 boys on the team will be led by a core four of returning athletes with lots of experience.

Senior Greg Tinkham is a threat in just about any event, though he shows well in hurdles and middle distances and will also be looking to chip in with the pole vault this year.

Fellow senior Ben McGinnis is a strong presence in distance and middle distance after a great indoor and cross country season.

Senior Ryan Soucie just missed out on New Englands last year in javelin and attended camps at UNH over the summer to improve.

"He's looking at shattering the javelin record," Hikel said. "He's throwing really, really well."

Sophomore Matt McGinnis will chip in on the sprints and in the middle distances.

Senior Nick Bachelder is new to the team and Hikel likes his quickness and he could also be a factor in throwing events. Junior Jason Houghton is also new to the team and will chip in for sprints and the pole vault.

Freshmen Drew Tuttle, Mike Fife and Mark Jannini are all coming off strong indoor track seasons and will contribute in distance events (Fife and Tuttle) and hurdles (Jannini).

"We'll probably convert a few to throwers," Hikel said of the young group that is still working itself out. "But it's a really young squad."

Hikel will once again team with John Tuttle to coach the team, with Tuttle concentrating on the running events, while Hikel focuses more on the field events.

"No field use makes life complicated, but hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate and this will all go away," she said.

The Timber Wolves opened the season after deadline Tuesday at home. They are slated to compete on Tuesday, April 12, at Inter-Lakes at 4 p.m.

Prospect has five home meets, with the next four coming on Saturday, April 16, Tuesday, April 19, Thursday, May 5, and Tuesday, May 17.

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