By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– With a week before their Icebreaker Meet with East Linn Christian and Monroe High School at Sprague High School, the Olympian Track and Field team were hosting an intra-squad mock meet to get the kids into the groove of competing so next Wednesday won’t be much of a shocker.
And there was some excitement there as well as an opportunity to improve moving into the season.
“I’m really excited actually, it’s my last season it’s my senior year, this is kind of the beginning and I’m getting all jittery getting ready to go,” said Lucas Schnell, who finished fourth at the GVC District Meet in the 300 meter hurdles as a junior last season.
“It’s nice, I think it helps doing something like this going into the first meet because it gives you more of an accurate idea of where you are compare to everyone to this point,” adds Emily Kraschel. “Just kind of the things to work on going into a meet, because I need to figure out my start a little bit better. That’s something I’ve always needed to work on and I know this year some things I need to work on going into the first meet and just coast into Districts and sharpen them up.”
For Sprague, they enter 2018 with a few new faces athlete-wise as they lose a few big names like a Austin Kleinsman, Kaylee Mitchell, Kyle Rosenau and Keaton Beckmann as well as a few new faces on Head Coach’s Brent Charles coaching staff entering this season that’ll make it interesting in a good way for the long-time Olys Track Coach.
“Oh I think it’s a natural process of High School Athletics that your always going to be in those situations at times,” Charles starts on the new faces of the athletes. “You kind of take what you get and we have some really good kids that graduate and so they graduate and you got to fill spots but we got some really good young kids that I’m really excited about and we do got returners coming back.”
Schnell and Kraschel were two of them. Jared Smith (Sprints), Eli Larson (Discus) and Jared Luna (Javelin), Colby Evenson (seventh at Districts 800 meters in 2017) round out the guys side.
Megan Sims (fifth at Discus Districts and sixth at Javelin in 2017), Alexis Smith (Third at 400 meter District race in 2017 after sixth place finish in 2016), Elise Abbott joins Murnieks in the 1,500 and 3,000 meter races as both Abbott and Murnieks placed last season.
Natalia Cedillo-Rodriquez, who finished fourth in the 2017 District Meet in the 300 meter hurdles, is battling a soccer injury but is floating around the team this year helping out guiding the young girls in the right direction as Charles is excited to see how this girls team starts to look over the next few years.
For the team in general, it’s going to be important for not just Charles and his coaching staff to help mold these young athletes into future Sprague Track and Field stars but from the athlete’s themselves to help show these young athlete’s the way.
Wheither it’s instilling the traditions they have or just simply leading by example to show these new faces how to do it the Sprague-Way.
“Just instilling all the traditions we have and everything like setting up the hurdles, everyone’s got to do that it’s a team-building thing,” said Kraschel. “During home meets we always stay until the 4×400 and always cheer them on at the corners. Instilling those team values into them, good sportsmanship.”
“Leading by example, you got to show your own energy towards it. You got to show that energy towards it and they’ll say, ‘ok, I want to be at that level’ so they’ll work for it.” adds Schnell. “My freshman year, my sophomore year, my junior year and I looked at the seniors like, ‘this is the level I want to be at’ so I try to mimic them and mirror them. Now it’s trying to be that example for them and trying to show them what they try to attain to be and what they’re trying to beat.”
A week-and-a-half into the season and the upperclassmen and returnees are already trying to find ways to better the future the best they can as those before them do.
And with the season starting in a few days, it should be a fun and interesting season for the Olympian Track and Field team.
“I’m really excited, I think we got a bunch of new freshman who are really going to help us out and I’m just excited to see how everyone’s going to do this season,” said Murineks.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald