It will be a young and inexperienced team racing around the track this spring for Brownstown.
Maria Conklin, head coach of the boys and girls squad, said the Braves will have three returning letter winners from the 2019 season.
“We are definitely young and inexperienced,” Conklin said. “But I think a lot of schools will be in that same boat.”
One experienced member on the girls roster is senior Avery Koch, who has been throwing the shot put and discus since sixth grade at Brownstown Central.
Discus is Koch’s favorite, and she feels like she has really gotten down the technique over the years.
“One of the things that has really helped me is keep your arm back and it’s like an aggressive motion of throwing it,” she said. “It’s mostly your hips and your core, and your shoulders also help, too, by keeping them level, and then you can throw it.”
Koch usually throws between the upper 120s and low 130s, and her goal is to break the school record this year, which is 138-6.
“I’ve been working since sixth grade to beat this record,” she said. “I know I can beat the record if I really work hard. I want to get the record, and I want to go to state.”
As for the shot put, Koch hasn’t completely mastered that technique yet. She said she likes throwing the shot first because by the time she’s at discus, her whole body is warmed up and she’s ready to throw.
Juniors Jazzlynn Yeadon and Kaitlyn McCormick are the other returning letter winners for the girls.
“Jazz will be a 400 runner and in our relay, and she’s trying out pole vault this year,” Conklin said. “Kaitlyn McCormick is also a pole vaulter and will run some sprints for us.”
Conklin said others she is counting on in the sprints are sophomore Abby Bennett, who has shown potential, and she expects Cam Thompson to give a good boost for the team in hurdles.
Freshmen Jocelyn Love and Tori Lokey have also shown potential, Conklin said.
“We’re still trying to fill some gaps. We only have 18 on the roster, so we’re probably going to try out some young ones in distance,” she said. “Thompson should be our top hurdler, and Love is going to run them, as well.”
Conklin thinks the girls’ 4×1 and 4×4 relays should be solid.
As for the boys team, there will be 31 boys on the roster. The seniors are Aaron Fernandez, Jayden Steinkamp and Andrew Wheeles.
“I know Jayden Steinkamp was a good long jumper/sprinter in the past,” she said. “Andrew Wheeles will help lead the distance crew. Cameron Day is also a good distance runner. Aaron Fernandez is also going to be a distance runner.
“Thad Goecker has been working hard at the hurdles, Brandon Reynolds is another hurdler. He has been working hard at those, and we have some younger ones trying out the hurdles.”
She said Caleb Cummings has shown some potential in the sprints. Freshmen Lane Zike and Brady Blann have shown some speed and will be in the 4×1 relay. Garrett Driver has looked good in the 400 and 800, she said.
“Cummings will probably be our top high jumper. Trapper Dean and Ethan Owens have also been jumping,” Conklin said. “Steinkamp and some of our younger ones, Blann and Hudson Fritz, are going to long jump. The throws will be led by Dustyn Kocsis. He performed pretty well as a freshman, and he and Brayden Millick are probably going to be our top two throwers.”
Millick likes the discus and hopes he can get into the 150s this year.
He said a good throw for him in the shot is 42 or 43 feet. Millick does a spin movement in both events, and when he comes around, he has a brown pole he looks for in the discus and a house he looks for in the shot.
“We should be pretty good in the 4×1 and 4×4 relays and the 4×8 also,” Conklin said. “I’m excited. We’ve got eight distance guys. We’re going to try to mix and match and see who fits in well. I think by the end of the season, that relay could be pretty good. We’re looking forward to having some meets, especially with the two-year hiatus.”