EATON — Eaton’s track and field teams will be young again this season, but have added depth to the roster, according to longtime coach Randy McKinney.
Here’s a look at this year’s team.
Coach: Randy McKinney – Boys Varsity Head Coach 11 years, Girls Varsity Head Coach 10 Years
Team accomplishments last season?
“Last season we were very young with the boys and girls teams. The boys won one invitational, runner-up in another, placed in the top four at three others, 6th place in the SWBL and 11th at the District Championships. The girls team placed in the top 5 in a couple of meets, 7th in the SWBL and 10th at the District Championships,” McKinney said.
Top returning athletes:
Katie Bassler – Senior – coming off a very successful cross country season just missing a trip to the state championships. “Katie will be solid for us this season running everything from the 800 to the 3200 meter run. I’m looking for some solid performances from her as the season progresses,” McKinney said.
Sasha Taxter – Senior – a two time regional track & field qualifier. “She had a solid cross country season this fall and I am expecting big things from her this spring in the 400, 800 and possibly the 1600 meter run,” McKinney said.
Ashton Staight – Senior – will lead the way for the girls throwing squad. “Ashton has a lot of experience with both the shot and discus. The discus is her main event and the coaching staff is hoping she will come into her own this season and improve upon her previous season best,” McKinney said.
Juniors – “we have several we hope will be stepping up and scoring points in their various sprinting, field and running events. Gabby Best, Tyler Pittman, Claire Meyer, Brooke Caplinger and Kylee Moore,” McKinney said.
According to McKinney, the girls also have several sophomores that he hopes will step up this season and continue to improve upon their freshmen season performances. They are Erin Azzalina, Brianna Baker, Makenzie Cooper, Raya Morgan and Alexis Owen.
“We have several Senior boys that we believe will score a lot of points for us this season. Braden Clabaugh – will lead our vaulting crew and hopefully help us in the sprints. Seth Hodapp – will also help us in the vaulting and sprints. Spencer Reynolds – returns to add depth in the shot and discus. Chase Smith – will once again lead our throwers after capturing the individual SWBL Discus title last season. Michael Watkins – we hope to see him have another big year while leading the way with our sprinting squad and long jumpers,” McKinney said.
Underclassmen: “We have many that we hope will step into their own this season,” McKinney said.
Darius Benton – hurdles, Seth Bowman – throws, Wyatt Cox – middle distance, Sam Hickman – throws, Kevin Lam – jumps, Logan Sizemore – sprints, Gideon Smith – hurdles and Dylan Suding – sprints.
“We have several sophomores that we hope to see come into their own this season. They are KeAnthony Bales, Ben Brewer, Gabe Brown, LeKendric Brown, Todd Coats, Winson Lam and Alex Newport,” McKinney said.
For the girls we have Junior Maley Tinstman and several freshmen girls that we believe will help us score points in various field events, sprints and distance races.
For the boys we have Junior Nick Smith and several freshmen boys that we believe will step in, score points at meets and add to our team depth.
Thoughts and expectations for the upcoming season:
“We are going to be young again this year with both the boys and girls teams. However, we are already have more depth than last season with a lot of athletes that want to do well as an individual and as a team. How good we are going to become is something I am going to have to wait to find out,” McKinney said. “We have many young athletes with a lot of potential that with a little more experience should do big things for us this season.”
Eaton opened the season on Wednesday, March 28 at the Ross Relays. The boys placed a very solid 3rd place overall behind Cincinnati Anderson and Cincinnati Oak Hills. the girls placed 4th overall just behind Taylor and behind champions Cincinnati Anderson and runner-up Oak Hills.
“It was a very good start with many of our kids starting ahead of their season best jumps, throws, vaults or race times from last season. Due to spring break, illness or injury we were unable to compete in the boys shuttle hurdles relay or triple jump which cost us a few valuable points in the overall team scoring,” McKinney said. “Our girls are more competitive than they were at any point last year while our boys have much more depth this year than last year.”
Eaton will compete again Thursday, April 5, at the Talawanda in the Talawanda All-Comers meet in a five-team field.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH