Outdoor Track & Field Preview: Lafayette, Tabb Lead Strong Bay Rivers District

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Lafayette's Michael Tyler will be looking to claim another state championship in the high jump. (file photo)
Lafayette’s Michael Tyler will be looking to claim another state championship in the high jump. (File Photo)

Lafayette, which is coming off a pair of top-five finishes in the Group 4A Indoor Track & Field Championships, will likely again be the team to beat in the Bay Rivers District this season.

A team that could push the Rams is Tabb, the only team in the Historic Triangle that can match Lafayette’s depth and top-tier talent.

With the two teams fielding multiple state champions, including Lafayette’s Michael Tyler and Tabb’s Maya Hanks, the arms race between the Rams and Tigers should be an exciting one.

While no other team in the Historic Triangle is likely to have the firepower to compete with Lafayette and Tabb in a team competition, other schools will field talented athletes capable of putting up big performances.

Athletes like Grafton’s Dylan Lorio-MacNamara, Jamestown’s Jordan Willis and Bruton’s Clara Wincheski will all be standout athletes to watch this season.

Below are previews for every Historic Triangle outdoor track and field team:

Bruton

Head Coach: Mark Tompkins
2016 Classification: 2A Conference 33
Athletes to Watch: Tayah Andrews (shot put, discus, 100m), Clara Wincheski (1600m, 3200m), David Danek (high jump), Curt Ivanoff (800m, 1600m, 3200m), Daniel Jones (long jump, triple jump, 100m, 200m, 400m, 4×100)

Season Outlook: While Bruton may not have the most elite athletes as the smallest school in the Bay Rivers District, the Panthers do have enough talent to compete in almost every event. On the girls side, Tayan Andrews is one of the best shot putters in the area and can also contribute in sprinting events. Wincheski is one of the best girls distance runners in the district and is coming off a state title in the 3,200-meter run during the indoor season. On the boys side, Ivanoff is a solid distance runner who will usually earn points in his events. Danek is one of the few area high jumpers who is capable of clearing a height of 6-0, which is a boost for the Panthers. Jones is a versatile athlete who can take advantage of his quick-twitch muscles in multiple events. Jones will compete in everything from field events to relays. While Bruton will not win any district meets, the Panthers will be competitive at the Group 2A level.

 

Grafton

Head Coach: Nick Valenti and Christine Pregler
2016 Classification: 4A Conference 19
Athletes to Watch: Alexa Daley (200m, 400m), Maya Caden (800m, 1600m, 3200m), Abigail Zuhlke (shot put, discus), Miles Owens (800m, 1600m, 3200m), Price Owens (800m, 1600m, 3200m), Dylan Lorio-MacNamara (800m, 1600m, 3200m)

Season Outlook: Grafton has much potential throughout its roster, but it remains to be seen if the Clippers can tap into that talent to place toward the top of the district. On the girls side, Caden will be Grafton’s best distance runner and should consistently earn points. Daley is an emerging speedster in longer sprinting events, such as the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash. Zuhlke, meanwhile, should be a force in the shot put and discus for the Clippers. On the boys side, Grafton’s three-headed distance monster of Miles Owens, Price Owens and Lorio-MacNamara will give the Clippers quite the lift in the longer events. Miles Owens is coming off a second-place finish in the 1,000-meter run during the state indoor meet, while Lorio-MacNamara helped lead Grafton’s 4×800-meter relay team to a fourth-place finish. All three athletes can be expected to put keep Grafton afloat if other events fall short.

 

Jamestown

Head Coach: Dan Schlickenmeyer
2016 Classification: 4A Conference 19
Athletes to Watch: Lauren Cooke (100m, 200m), Skye Thomson (1600m, 3200m), Kathleen Yates (high jump, 800m, 1600m, 3200m), Jordan Willis (long jump, 100m, 200m, 400m), Jordan Turner (long jump, triple jump, 100m, 200m)

Season Outlook: Jamestown has a handful of talented girls and boys athletes, but the Eagles likely do not have the firepower to challenge the top of the district. Cooke enters the season as one of the highest-ranked girls in the 100-meter dash and will give the Eagles a lift in the sprinting events. Thomson and Yates will team up to tackle the distance events, though Yates is more likely to experiment with some jumping events and middle-distance events throughout the season. On the boys side, Willis and Turner are the clear standouts for Jamestown. Willis finished third in the 400-meter dash and sixth in the 200-meter dash during last year’s state outdoor championships and will be one of the better short-distance runners in the district. Turner is a talented quick-twitch athlete and can excel at sprinting events and jumping events. Jamestown should be expected to finish around the middle to lower half of the Bay Rivers District given some of its depth issues.

 

Lafayette

Head Coach: Mel Jones
2016 Classification: 4A Conference 18
Athletes to Watch: Alexis Brender A’ Brandis (long jump, triple jump, high jump, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Delaney Savedge (1600m, 3200m), Selena Jones (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, long jump, triple jump, high jump), Konrad Steck (800m, 1600m, 3200m), Michael Tyler (high jump, long jump, triple jump, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Cade Moreno (1600m, 3200m)

Season Outlook: Lafayette’s girls are coming off a Group 3A state championship in 2015, while the boys finished third in the Group 4A state championships in indoor track. Lafayette has long been the premier team in the Bay Rivers District, and that will not change this season. Brender A’ Brandis enters the outdoor season as the highest seeded 100-meter hurdler and long jumper. A versatile athlete, Brender A’ Brandis can score points in multiple events for the Rams. Savedge is among the top distance runners in the district and will challenge for wins in the 1,600-meter run. Like Brender A’ Brandis, Jones is another all-around athlete who can fill in for multiple events if needed. The Lafayette boys are led by Tyler, who is coming off an indoor state championship in the high jump. Tyler is an explosive jumper who can excel in the high jump, as well as the long jump and triple jump. Steck and Moreno will combine to lead Lafayette’s distance team, and the duo should rack up the points for the Rams. Lafayette’s goals extend well beyond the scope of district meets as the Rams will be vying for a state title once again.

 

Tabb

Head Coach: Lucas Brown
2016 Classification: 3A Conference 27
Athletes to Watch: Maya Hanks (high jump, long jump, triple jump, 100m, 200m), Emma Sears (shot put, discus), Lindsey Blanks (800m, 1600m, 3200m), Allen Blair (100m, 200m, 400m, high jump, long jump, triple jump), Larry Ingram (100m, 200m, 400m), Jacob Kaminer (1600m, 3200m)

Season Outlook: Tabb will field one of the strongest girls rosters in the Bay Rivers District this season. Leading the Tigers is Hanks, who is coming off an indoor state championship in the triple jump. Hanks is a prolific jumper and a reliable sprinter who will almost always be competitive in her events. Sears enters the outdoor season as one of the highest ranked throwers in both the shot put and discus. Blanks capped off her indoor season with a state championship in the 1,600-meter run and seems poised to continue that dominance in the outdoor season. On the boys side, Blair is coming off his best indoor season that featured a pair of state championships in the 300-meter dash and long jump. Ingram will be one of the better sprinters in the district this season, and Kaminer will provide some stability to Tabb’s distance events. With so much top-end talent, the Tigers should be one of the better teams in the district this season.

 

Warhill

Head Coach: Bill Napolitano
2016 Classification: 3A Conference 25
Athletes to Watch: Lauren Dansereau (1600m, 3200m),  Sam Snyder (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Sianna Ferguson (800m, 1600m, 3200m), Nate Tirak (shot put, discus), Spencer Conti (800m, 1600m, 4×400), Tre’Von Loftin (long jump, 100m, 110m hurdles, 400m, 4×400)

Season Outlook: Warhill will have to replace a number of standouts from last season, including boys distance runner Christopher Short and girls distance runner Mim Buscher. The Lions will have more returning talent on the boys side, with a number of talented throwers and relay runners. The Lions return half of last year’s Group 3A boys champion 4×400-meter relay team. Loftin and Brian Stovall will lead what should once again be a talented group of relays. Conti, a solid distance runner, is another athlete who is expected to contribute to Warhill’s relays. Tirak is Warhill’s best thrower and will hold down the shot put and discus. The Lions will miss their indoor track and field captain Hannah Hrncir, who is missing the outdoor season because of an injury. Dansereau, a distance runner, will lead the distance team in Hrncir’s place. Snyder will be Warhill’s best hurdler, while Ferguson will contribute in middle to long distance events. Napolitano said this year’s girls roster is the smallest its been in his time at Warhill, so the Lions could struggle a bit.

 

York

Head Coach: Jim Bradley
2016 Classification: 3A Conference 27
Athletes to Watch: Megan Gingery (long jump, triple jump, 100m, 200m, 400m), Emma North (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Tyler Christian (shot put, discus), Ryan Born (110m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Kyle Mastracci (high jump, long jump, triple jump)

Season Outlook: York finds itself in a tough spot heading into the outdoor season. While the Falcons have some individual talent, York largely lacks the overall depth to remain competitive in meets. The standout for York on the girls side is easily Gingery, who will be one of the best all-around jumpers in the Bay Rivers District. Gingery can also assist in some sprinting events when needed, but she does not have the pure speed to win the events outright. North is York’s best girls hurdler, but is likely to finish toward the middle of the pack in larger meets. Christian, who enters the outdoor season as the highest-seeded shot putter on the boys side, is a powerful thrower who will contribute plenty of points for the Falcons. Born is one of the best hurdlers in the district and has proven he can perform at larger meets. Mastracci, while unlikely to win many high jump events, will be in the mix among the top group of jumpers.