Photo by Roberto Aponte ’17 — Robert Brooks ’17 (second from right) competes in the 200 meter race at the Chandler Rotary Invitational Meet on April 21, 2015. The track team is looking forward to the long distance events this upcoming season.
By Jack Davis ’19
Track and field’s 2015-16 season featured a Northeast Valley Regional Championship and a fourth-place finish in the Arizona state meet.
Since then, head coach Mr. Bill Kalkman said the team has been working, primarily through fall and winter sports, to ensure the same level of success come February.
“It [track and field] builds on what our athletes in the school are doing with their other sports,” Mr. Kalkman said. “The cross country guys had a great season and they’re resting right now, gearing up to run distance for us.”
“A lot of our strong guys are involved in football and strength classes with Mr. [Joe] Denk,” he added. “The same with our spring group, they’ve been involved in various activities whether it is soccer, basketball or football.”
Mr. Kalkman said that the team’s biggest strength is its distance runners.
“Our distance runners are our top strength, with Luke Mason ’17, Hociel Landa ’17 and Drew Burns ’18, the top-three guys in the state in cross country with our state runner-up banner that they earned this year,” Mr. Kalkman said. “They come to track for the mile and the two-mile, those are our best events.”
While the distance runners are expected to be large contributors, Mr. Kalkman said that other athlete groups should perform well.
“We also have some great athletes in the jumps, and in the pole vault and in the sprints,” Mr. Kalkman said. “We’re excited to bring it all together this spring.”
Runner Elisha Brooks ’19 agreed about the team’s proficient distance team.
“Our biggest strength is probably our distance team,” Brooks said. “Last year, we had three of the top five runners in the state. All three of them will be returning this year too so they will definitely be doing some work for us this year.”
Mr. Kalkman said that he expects production from newcomers as well as veteran runners.
“Guys that we have returning that we know what to expect from are young sophomores like Izak Wall ’19 and Elisha Brooks,” he said. “We have good seniors in addition to those distance guys: RJ Brooks ’17, Cole Yandell ’17, Nico Nicholson ’17 and Carson Ingram ’17.”
Brooks said that two large meets will present a challenge for the team.
“The toughest test this season breaks off into two big meets that we always train towards,” he said. “Those being the state meet and the Arcadia Invitational, which is a big out-of-state meet in California.”
Brooks said that the development of freshman and sophomores will be critical to prolonged success.
“I would say the ultimate goal would be to build up underclassmen to take the spots of the seniors that we will be losing this year,” he said.