With a little less than two weeks left before area track and field teams participate in district meets, coaches are making any last-minute adjustments to their teams.
For Captain Shreve, Airline and Benton, today is a chance to get a fresh look at lineups in Natchitoches at the Natchitoches Central meet.
“We are young, so we are still trying to find the right combinations on our relay teams,” Shreve boys coach Keith Bilbo said. “It’s an ongoing process. It’s still a trial and error. In years past, we’ve known what we have and can plan everything out. We don’t have that this year.”
While Shreve’s boys and girls varsity teams travel to Natchitoches, the Gators and Lady Gators JV teams will be at Lee Hedges for today’s Fair Park Indian Relays.
Huntington, Green Oaks, Carroll, North DeSoto, Booker T. Washington and Evangel will also participate in the Indian Relays.
“It’s going to be some great competition that we will be up against,” said Fair Park boys coach Kim White, who has been using a Vince Lombardi quote about winning to motivate her team. “We plan to win. We are going to have to run each race to perfection to do that. We can’t make any mistakes. The smallest mistake can cost you a win. It’s time for us to peak. We have to show everything we’ve been practicing. It’s time to put everything into action.”
With several quality teams in Natchitoches, including Tioga, Lakeview, Buckeye and Pineville along with Natchitoches Central, Chiefs track coach Kenneth Bates expects tight competition at the Chief Relays.
“Benton is going to be very strong, and they will be competing in just about every event,” Bates said. “Airline always brings speed, so I can always look for that. I don’t think there will be any real runaways. We try to put on a good meet, and I think this year will be very competitive.”
Bilbo said he is also looking forward to seeing how his team performs against top-level competition.
“I’m very simple with my kids, I just want them to compete in every event,” Bilbo said. “With Airline and Natchitoches there, as well as other good teams, we get to find out where we stand and what we still need to work on. This is a good precursor to the district meet. It gives you an idea what you are working with and what some of your opponents have.”
The Crimson Tide Relays in Minden, which were scheduled for Thursday, were cancelled because of weather issues. Parkway, Doyline, Mansfield, Red River and Richwood are some of the teams that planned on participating.