NEWTON — Call Tom Bartello, second-year head coach for the Newton boys’ track team, a boy scout. He and his coaching staff were prepared for bad weather working against the Cardinals preparation for the 2014 outdoor track season.
“Last year’s weather and meet cancellations made it difficult for everyone to compete as much as we would have liked them to have competed, and it seems to be a partial factor in athlete turnover this year,” Bartello said.
“As with any seasons, we are working on battling the elements, although this year we were more prepared for bad weather and took advantage of diversifying our workouts indoors to better prepare for the indoor and outdoor seasons.”
The Cardinals had three solid indoor meets in March to get things kick-started. They head to Southeast Polk today for the first outdoor meet of the season.
Newton qualified in seven events for the Class 4A state track meet a year ago. They have four returning athletes who qualified for the state and/or the 2013 Drake Relays.
Junior Deonne Harris is back in form running the hurdles for the Cardinals. Harris had a top time of 14.86 seconds in the 110-meter high hurdles a year ago. He finished 17th at the state meet and qualified for the Drake Relays.
Junior Jarom Williams has already jumped a foot further in competition this season in the long jump. His best last year was 18 feet, 11 3/4 inches. Williams qualified for the state and Drake meets in the 4x400-meter relay and was on the 4x100-meter relay that ran at the Drake Relays.
Senior Brandon Fisher and sophomore Jake Bennett were on the state qualifying shuttle hurdle relay team
“We have a number of returners for sprints and distance athletes, including 2013 team captain Collin Jacobsen. We are excited to see the full potential of some of our seasoned veterans and younger returners including Jeffery Thongvanh, Earl Kimmel, Jacob Thomas, Sean Cook, Justin Simms, Devon Wolf and Zach Theis,” Bartello said.
New from last year are Levi Mechener, Reese Rosenquist, Jason Wu and Noah Kimmel. Mechener, a senior, returns after taking a year off and is expected to fill a spot on the shuttle hurdle relay. Senior Jacob Walker came back to Newton this year and gives the Cardinals depth in the sprints and relays.
Newton graduated its top thrower, Derek Hurt, from last year. The Cardinals will be relying on a younger group in the throwing events this season.
Senior Ray Schroder leads the way. Others competing in the throws are Mason Bowes, Zakk Weatherly, Collin Daniels, Antonio Tellez-Jordan, and Lucas Montgomery.
“Our numbers are down quite a bit from last year, 25 compared to last year’s near 40. We also have a very small freshman representation this year. This is going to be an interesting year for boys track in Newton,” Bartello said.
“We are hopeful to qualify the shuttle hurdle relay into Drake and state again this year as well as a number of potential individuals.”
Assisting Bartello are Mike Castings and John Patterson.