PCM’s boys’ track and field coach Collin Harrison isn’t hiding it. The Mustangs’ expectations for 2019 is to hoist the Class 2A championship trophy.
With a roster deep in sprinters and full of experience, Harrison thinks the goal of winning a state title is realistic. Claiming a state trophy for the first time in school history is even more realistic.
“Our goal is to win it, but our secondary goal is to bring home a trophy of some kind,” Harrison said. “The ultimate expectation is to reach for the top and try to win the thing. The kids think we have a chance, and we do.”
Senior Preston Van Wyk is back after claiming third in the 200- and fourth in the 100-meter dash last season. He becomes one of the favorites to win the title this season after teammate Noah Anderson won the 200 title a year ago.
Joining Van Wyk on most of the sprint relays is a deep crop of sprinters in seniors Payton Strovers, Wes Cummings, Reed Worth and Brayton Van Dyke and sophomores Connor Bennett and Jacob Van Winkle.
Van Wyk, Cummings and Strovers were on the 4x200 relay team which placed third a season ago. This year, Worth could replace Anderson on that relay.
“He’s a big addition. He was one of our fastest guys in football and hasn’t been out since his freshman season,” Harrison said. “His dad was great in track so that made him want to give it a shot. He’s a big get for us.”
The Mustangs finished a program-best fifth in 2A last season with 35 points.
They might have finished with a team trophy last season had the 4x100 relay team not be disqualified at the state qualifying meet. Injuries to a few key pieces also derailed some other events.
“When you bring back a guy who can win a couple individual events, pair him with some other sprinters who can fare well in relays and then sprinkle in a few others who can get top six or top eight and you have a chance,” Harrison said. “I don’t think we have to do a ton different. If that 4x100 relay got to state and didn’t get DQed, we probably place and get a trophy last year.”
Strovers also nearly medaled in the long jump at state a year ago. He finished 12th, and a top-eight finish this season would add to the team’s point total.
Another solid season from sophomore Beau Webb in the distance events also could be key. Webb was 20th at state in the 1,600 last season.
Senior Cole Dustin also showed he was one of the top 110-meter high hurdlers as a sophomore. He battled injuries all of last year and failed to make it back to state. A healthy season and a trip to state this year could help the Mustangs in the team race.
Dustin headlines a shuttle hurdle relay team that also could include Worth, seniors Nick Buswell and Jarron Trausch and junior Nigel Sperfslage. Sperfslage also is expected to be the team’s top 400 hurdler.
Senior Isaac Telfer and junior Seth Greiner are the top returning throwers.
Harrison said the team went about 30 deep in each of the past few seasons. This year’s team sits at 42.
The program has changed a lot the past five years. We are now in the mix to win every single meet we compete in,” Harrison said. “Success breeds success, and that has helped grow the numbers this season.
PCM opens the outdoor season at East Marshall at 4:15 p.m. on March 26 in Le Grand.