Track Preview: Teams load for Saturday’s Stargazer
The Corydon Central track and field teams will host the upcoming Stargazer Friday, the first big meet for area teams.
For the Corydon Central girls’ team, senior standout Meghan Bussabarger re-turns, shooting for her fourth appearance at the state meet. Bussabarger excels in the hurdles events and high jump.
‘We are very young this year, with 13 freshmen; however, our four seniors will help with leadership and experience at big meets,’ coach Kyle Jones said.
Jones said the program has a lot of talent in the freshman class. The coaching staff and team were recently impressed with a good showing at the New Albany dual meet, placing several participants in the top four in events.
Jones said he believes the team has a strong chance to give Brownstown a run for the Mid-Southern Conference and to compete for the top four at sectional.
‘Our strength is in the distance and middle distance events as well as field events, as usual,’ Jones said. ‘Our only weakness is our sprinters, but they are quickly progressing to where they need to be.’
On the boys’ side, the Panthers are equipped with a deep team of 32 athletes, a sign coach Kerry Zimmerman likes in regards to the program.
‘We’ve been young the last couple years, but this year, those sophomores are now juniors and those juniors are seniors,’ said Zimmerman. ‘We’re pretty deep, so the kids will need to be patient as the season goes on.’
Sean Ettinger is a versatile asset to the team, after placing fifth at regional last year as a junior. Ryan Eichmiller adds a spark, excelling in the hurdle events. Both of whom, along with Chad Conrad in the high jump and Harrison Mann in running events, provide opportunities for the boys’ team to score a bulk of points.
‘If we stay healthy, we should be pretty successful come May,’ said Zimmerman.
The Lanesville track and field teams are young this coming season. Ten girls and eight boys make up the roster that includes seven freshmen.
‘We will do our best to compete with team schools,’ coach Brian Book said. ‘However, with our numbers low compared to other schools, we’ll concentrate more on getting as many athletes as we can qualified for regional.’
Senior returnees include sprinter Nick Johnson and throwers Chelsea Parsons and Asher Pursell and Bryan Sacasas. The girls’ team will be without distance runner Rachel Butler, who will miss the season with a knee injury.
‘Asher Pursell is hoping to carry last year’s momentum into this year,’ Book said of the regional discus throw qualifier.
Also looking to improve are Sara Hausz and Parsons in throwing events. Junior Codey Coke also had a strong season last year in the 400-meter run.
‘I, along with the team, am looking forward to get the season underway,’ Book said.
Typically, the Cougar boys’ track team boasts a roster of 20 to 25 competitors. This season, coach Joe Kellum has 37 boys out, including a big group of freshmen.
‘We’re bigger than in the past, and they are a talented bunch,’ said Kellum.
There is plenty of depth with the distance runners. The distance group is headed by state qualifier Tyler Byrne, who returns for his junior season.
‘All of our standouts from last year are back, including Tyler and Alan Austin, both state qualifiers,’ said Kellum.
Kellum said both are doing well, as Austin continues to evolve as a thrower in the shot put and discus.
Another key returnee is Jarod Richards, who made great strides last season in the hurdle events.
‘Jarod is a kid that made a big jump from his freshman to sophomore year,’ Kellum said.
Sprinting should be solid, including finding the right combination for the 400-meter relay team.
With depth on the boys’ team, competition for races is forcing guys to perform better each day or get bumped from an event.
North Harrison’s girls’ preview was not available at press time.
South Central has 10 girls out for the track and field season, highlighted by thrower Abby Day and hurdler Shelby Miller.
Also for the Lady Rebels, girls’ coach Virgil Casper is excited about his runners.
‘For the first time since I’ve been coaching, we will fill a relay team, which is exciting,’ he said.
Among the 10 girls, three will play tennis in addition to competing in track.
Another strength the program has missed recently is a distance runner. Rachel Pease, who had a successful freshman year on the cross country circuit, will run in the distance events. Casper said she is getting acclimated with running on the track and learning what her times need to be each lap in order to be successful.
‘Overall, the girls are working hard, and we’re looking forward to a fun year,’ Casper said.
On the boys’ side, the Rebels bring back senior Clinton Keys, a hurdle specialist. Also looking to improve from last season is Chris O’Connor, a distance runner and high jumper.
Among the other competitors on the boys’ side is Justin Stewart, Josh Kendall and Cody Roby.
Throwers Tyler Mayberry, Daniel Brinkworth and Phil Morgan are also returning.