“Abigail was obviously our best athlete last year, but she was the glue we needed to bring the team together last year,” girls coach Jim Garnett said. “We are really missing leadership right now without Abigail and Janada [Acree].”
Torian and Acree, members of Trigg’s class of 2009, comprise half of last year’s sprint relay teams, meaning the remaining half – Khadijah Grubbs and Shelby Grubbs – will be leaned on to prepare a pair of young runners hoping to continue Trigg’s history of success in the events.
“The last few practices have been better than the first few, so we’re getting there,” Garnett said. “We’ve had a bunch of people try out for those spots.”
Garnett said sophomore Maya Bridges and seventh grader Kelliniqua Acree currently have the inside track on filling those openings.
“These are the relays we like to win, the ones Trigg Countians are known for,” Garnett said. “We’ve got a target on our back, but our expectation is to win it. They want to, it’s just a matter of getting the right pieces to the puzzle. We’ve got two girls that have never taken a handoff yet, and we’re talking about winning state. But I think we can compete. The speed is there.”
In distance races, Lynease Byers returns after finishing eighth in the 1600-meter run at last year’s state meet. Garnett said Trigg might not begin running distance relays for a while and that Byers will focus on expanding her portfolio to include the 3200-meter run.
“She’s capable of scoring points at state in both of those,” Garnett said. “It’s very competitive in the 2-mile, especially runners from northern Kentucky.”
Garnett said Trigg won’t focus much on field events for a few weeks. He said DeAsia Wilson has potential to qualify for state in the discus.
“We’ll miss at least one point scorer in field events with Janada gone,” Garnett said.
For the Wildcats, 2009 state meet qualifiers returning to the 2010 team include Jalik Alexander, Sean Beebe and Matt Savage. Alexander ran the 100-meter dash at state last year and, along with Beebe, qualified in the 4x100-meter relay with class of 2009 members Ryan Acree and Dustin White. Savage was a qualifier in the pole vault, and boys coach Kewanis Kennedy said he expects a lot of improvement from Savage in that event.
In the sprint relays, Alexander and Beebe will be joined by Hakeem Tyler and Ryan Briggs. For distance races, Trigg will have Savage, Josh Adams, DePaul Hendrix, Jake Mitchell and Jakelze Martin.
“We’ve got a bunch of kids out there,” Kennedy said. “We’ll find out what they can do in a meet setting and go from there.”
Individually, Kennedy said he expects Alexander to stand out in sprint races and for Beebe to be a point scorer in the shot put. Adams can be successful in the triple jump, but Kennedy said he’s still looking for athletes that can compete in the long jump and high jump.
Just like the girls team, the Wildcats have plenty of youth and inexperience, but Kennedy said those athletes have the desire to compete.
“We’ve got a lot of middle schoolers that want to run with the high schoolers,” Kennedy said. “We’ll be young, but I think we’ll be good.”
Kennedy said he expects the Wildcats to be well represented at state.
“I think we’ll take a big crew to state,” Kennedy said. “We’ve just got to do all the little things right this year.”
Trigg opened its season Saturday at Marshall County. Results were unavailable at press time.