Balanced Raiders eying strong finishes at state meet
Although the experience levels for the Collins-Maxwell-Baxter boys and girls track teams were drastically different going into the season, they are enjoying the same payoff as the season winds down.
The Raider boys will send eight athletes to the state track meet on Thursday to compete in nine events, while the Raider girls will be competing with six athletes amongst four events.
Qualifying nine events may have been a surprise to boys coach Neil Seales at the beginning of the season, but certainly not by the end. A perfect example of that is sophomore Bryce Kemp, who qualified for the 200-meter dash, 110 hurdles and long jump as an individual, and will also run with the shuttle hurdle relay team. Kemp hadn't run the 110 hurdles before this season, but that obviously didn't slow him down.
"We were young enough coming in that we really didn't have much of an idea of how we would progress, but we're obviously really pleased we got this many events through," Seales said. "They've put forth a lot of effort and grown over the season, so that’s really nice to see. We face state competition a lot throughout the season, so we’re looking forward to seeing where we stack up.”
In the Raiders’ throwing events, junior Zach Samson appears to be the man to beat in the Class 2A shot put after he finished fifth at state last season. Still chasing his brother’s school record of 56 feet, 5.5 inches, Samson currently has the state’s second-best throw of 56-5. He’s no slouch in the discus, either, ranking sixth in 2A with a throw of 158 even.
Joining him at state are sophomore teammates Patrick Girard and Clayton Weltha. Girard has consistently thrown near the 50-foot mark in the shot put all season, while Weltha came on strong at the end of the season and topped out at 143-1 in the discus.
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