By Ben Murphy
The Clare varsity track teams appear to be headed for strong seasons once again, as both return several key athletes to their teams.
The boy’s squad, who went undefeated in the Jack Pine Conference and took second place in regionals are led by seniors Jake Boynton (throws, Patrick Hughes (throws), James Simon (sprints), Jordan Hales, hurdles), Anthony Whitehead (middistance), Taylor Meixner (long jump, high jump), Riley Crawford (pole vault) and Lucas Combs (distance).
“All are expected to make big contributions, all have multiple all-conference distinctions,” 10th year head coach Adam Burhans said.
Juniors on the team are Hunter Nivison (distance), Brock Demo (distance) and Seth Harton (multiple events).
Top sophomores on the team, according to Burhans are Kevin Spicer Torres (mid-distance) and Kyler Philllips (middistance), Devin Ayers (hurdles), Zach Brockway (multiple events) and Tyler Gillespie (throws).
The coach feels that Alex Haupt, Zach Merchant, Cameron Foss and Chase Field will be his top freshmen. “Our goal is to always work as a team and encourage each other toward collective goals,” Burhans said. “Our goal is to win the conference and get as many kids to the state meet. I’m very impressed with the youth and toughness on the team. We hope that success naturally follows.”
The girls, under second year head coach Kyle McKown are hoping their talented youngsters canlead to exciting things.
“We have a very competitive group of girls on this year’s team,” Burhans said. “Our team is very young, but will continue to improve and gain experience throughout the
season. ”To returning athletes for the Lady Pioneers is senior April Painter (throws), along with juniors Kyrsten Kruskamp (jumps, sprints, hurdles, school record holder in long jump), Victoria Harper (distance, all state in cross country), Abigail Denton (sprints), Robyn Stanley (distance) Amanda Yats (middistance) and sophomore Olivia Cooper (sprints, relay state qualifi er last year).
New to the team are freshmen Madison McPhee (sprints), Saleen Picard (sprints, jumps), Hannah Hofweber (sprints, jumps), Mallory McDowell (sprints) and Brooke Beatty (middistance).
The Pioneers have already competed in a few meets this season and compete again tomorrow (Saturday) at St. Louis and open JPC action at Gladwin on April 17 in a tri-meet.