Well-rounded, complete, whole.
These are just a few words that could describe this year’s Newton boys track and field team. The Cardinals have already shown their strength in number through the indoor season, and with the weather finally warming up, they look to take their talents outdoors.
The Cardinals have talent from top to bottom. They have shown depth on the track as well as the field events. Whether it be throws, jumps, relays, hurdles, distance runs or open sprints, the Cardinals’ roster suggests that things could be on the horizon for this year’s team.
Returning to the shot put circle this season is three-sport star and senior Derrick Hurt. Hurt is coming off an impressive wrestling season, one in which he was able to place at state, and he brings that same tenacity to the throwing circle. In Newton’s most recent meet at UNI, Hurt placed first with a throw of more than 52 feet, which is a vast improvement over his ability at this point last year.
One of the premier track stars for this year’s squad will likely be sophomore Deonne Harris. Harris has blazed through his indoor heats, and he appears to be hitting his stride as the outdoor season approaches. Both Hurt’s throws and Harris’ hurdle performances have earned them recognition, both on the scoreboard and from their coach.
“Our strongest events are going to include shot, where Derrick will score some big points for us this year, and hurdles with Deonne scoring some big points as well,” coach Tom Bartello said. “Derrick is throwing really well, much better than he was last year. I think he’s throwing about six feet farther than he was in the indoor season last year. Deonne is running hurdles really well right now with a fifth place finish at ISU and a third place at UNI as a sophomore. So, he’s having a really good season thus far.”
Seniors Dakota Hills and Andrew Clements run the last two legs of Newton’s strong 4x400 relay team. Their leadership will be key to that relay team’s success this season. The other two runners, freshman Dainen Brass and sophomore Jarom Williams, have excellent speed, but their youth will be tested up against some more experienced relay teams in the Little Hawkeye Conference.
“Our 4x400 team is doing really well, they’re running a little faster than they were last year at this time. Same goes for our open 400 runners, Dakota and Andrew are both running faster than they were last year,” Bartello said. “Our 4x100 and 4x400 teams are going to do really well also. On the 4x400 team we have Dainen, Jarom, Andrew and Dakota. We’ve had some kids graduate in the 4x400, but we’ve already filled those gaps.”
As far as expectations go, it’s clear Bartello sees some big things in this team’s near future. This is not solely based upon the slew of aforementioned athletes, but also some incoming freshmen runners, such as Cooper McDermott, who show great potential in the distance events. McDermott won his heat at the Dickinson Relays at UNI and continued to improve throughout the indoor season. Now that they team is headed outdoors, he will be more in his comfort zone due to his cross country experience.
“We’re hoping to send a few more teams to state and to the Drake Relays this season,” Bartello said. “We also have some great young kids in the distance events, so that is very exciting. Those distance kids are just going to get stronger and stronger over the next couple years.”
The Newton boys will head outdoors for the first time on Tuesday when they will travel to South Tama.