Indoor track and field preview capsules

Indoor track and field preview capsules

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Indoor track and field preview capsules

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Boys

Burlington

* Coach: Jamie Hayes (fourth season)

* Last season: Finished fifth at state championships

* Key returnees: Nick Smith, sprints/relays, senior; Sang Bui, sprints/relay, junior

* Key newcomers: Lorenzo LaBrusciano, mid-distance/relays, senior; Tobias Muellers, multi-events, junior

* Outlook: A boost in numbers should help the Seahorses be competitive throughout the season and at the state meet. Soccer standout Tobias Muellers, who finished second in the 400 in outdoor track, joins the indoor team for the first time. “We have the potential to be up there at states,” Hayes said.

* Opener: Today at UVM

Essex

* Coach: Kevin Martell (second season)

* Last season: Third at state championships

* Key returnees: Tim Yandow, jumps, sophomore; Kevin Conchieri, sprints, senior; Taite Carpenter, sprints, junior; Alex Dewitt, relays, junior; Josh Baez, jumps, sophomore

* Outlook: With all competitors returning from its 4×400 and 4×800 teams, as well as top finishers in the sprints, Essex looks to be among the top teams. This season, Essex has more than 130 kids between the boys and girls teams. “I believe we will be chasing teams,” said Martell. “If St. Johnsbury or South Burlington falters, Essex will be right there to pick up points.”

* Up next: Today at UVM

Mount Mansfield

* Coaches: Levi Root, Will Manning (third seasons)

* Last season: Eighth at state championships

* Key returnees: Jeremy Carter, sprints, senior; Kyle Berteau, sprints, senior; Ted Grover, sprints, senior; Casey Lavalley, sprints, senior

* Outlook: Judging by the key returnees, sprints are the name of the game for this somewhat undersized Cougar team. “We should be strong in sprints this year, especially on the guys side. They have made a nice progression over the past years,” Manning said. Carter is coming off a top-10 finish in the 300 last season.

* Opener: Today at UVM

Rice

* Coach: Mark McKenna (ninth season)

* Last season: Did not score at state championships

* Key returnees: Tim Dupuis, 300/600, senior; Oliver Wood, distance, junior; Cameron Bourbeau, distance, junior

* Outlook: While it will be tough to compete for overall team wins with large schools like South Burlington and Essex, the Green Knights are still poised to make a splash. “I think we’ll do pretty well, especially with distance. Our goal is getting individual personal bests this year,” McKenna said. The distance events appear to be Rice’s strong suit, with multiple experienced runners coming off successful cross country performances.

* Opener: Today at UVM

South Burlington

* Coach: Dennis Akey (second season)

* Last season: Second at state championships

* Key returnees: Sean MacDonald, mid-distance/relays, sophomore; Cody Yu, sprints/jumps, senior; Paul Lyon, hurdles, senior; Tyler Kronoff, throws, senior

* Outlook: Although many top performers from last season graduated, South Burlington has plenty of athletes to step in. A group of distance runners are coming off a cross country state championship. “They are learning that they are as good as they thought they were, and they have the potential to be the core of our team,” Akey said.

* Opener: Today at UVM

Girls

Burlington

* Coach: Jamie Hayes (fourth season)

* Last season: Did not score at state championships

* Key returnees: Karlee Fowler, hurdles/sprints/jumps, junior; Kelsey Finnegan, jumps/sprints, sophomore; Lauren Rathgaeb, 600, junior

* Outlook: Fowler hovered around top-10 finishes last year and, according to Hayes, “has come a long ways” and “hopes to place” in the top six in various events this winter. Finnegan is another to watch for the Seahorses, who’ve seen a nice uptick in participation numbers after having only a handful of girls on the squad last year.

* Opener: Today at UVM

Essex

* Coach: Kevin Martell (second season)

* Last season: Second at state championships

* Key returnees: Alexa Pius, sprints/relays, senior; Rachel Pinto, distance, junior; Rose Monahan, distance, sophomore; Mariah Neverett, hurdles, sophomore; Andrea Magnant, hurdles, junior; Emma Sopchak, high jump, junior

* Outlook: Martell is optimistic about the upcoming season. “Essex is always in the hunt for a championship,” he said. He said the Hornets’ biggest obstacle is Burlington. Essex returns top performers in Pius and Pinto, who both finished in the top 3 in their events last year.

* Up next: Today at UVM

Mount Mansfield

* Coach: Levi Root, Will Manning (third seasons)

* Last season: Fifth at state championships

* Key returnees: Andrea Duncan, distance, senior; Hannah Yindra, sprints/hurdles, senior.

* Outlook: The numbers are low this year but expectations high for the Cougars. “We should have some good individual performances,” said Manning.

* Opener: Today at UVM

Rice

* Coach: Mark McKenna (ninth season)

* Last season: Seventh at state championships

* Key returnees: Emily Boucher, sprints, senior; Riley Mitiguy, sprints, sophomore; Hope Swankey, throws, sophomore.

* Outlook: Participation numbers have doubled, a positive sign for the fairly young Green Knights. Mitiguy, who narrowly missed a third-place finish in the 300 last year, will help anchor the sprint side of things. Emily Boucher is also speedy, giving coach McKenna plenty of options. “We are hoping to put together really good relay teams this year,” he said.

* Opener: Today at UVM

South Burlington

* Coach: Dennis Akey (second season)

* Last season: Won state championship

* Key returners: Kayla Gilding, sprints/jumps, sophomore; Elise Mench, hurdles/relays, senior; Katherine Cook, distance, junior; Anne-Marie Farmer mid-distance/relays, senior.

* Outlook: The biggest question: How will the Rebels replace the points from Mollie Gribbin, who rewrote the Vermont indoor and outdoor state record books in the sprints, jumps and relays before graduating? “It’s about us trying to live up to what she established,” Akey said. The team can turn to another speedster, Kayla Gilding, who finished second Gribbin in the 55, 300 and long jump last winter.

* Opener: Today at UVM

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