New Richmond track teams young, but with clear strengths
It may have been listed as a practice, but when the New Richmond track teams stepped onto the UW-River Falls Knowles Center indoor track for a time trials meet against Hudson and River Falls, you could see the competitive juices were flowing.
The time trials were a chance for the younger Tigers to learn how a track meet is conducted and for the older Tigers to begin establishing themselves.
Tiger girls coach Judy Weiss, who has been through decades of indoctrinating young track athletes, said it was a typical opening meet.
“Some were really nervous. It was nice to get that out of the way,” Weiss said.
Each of the Tiger teams has just four seniors on its roster. The Tiger coaches said they like the veteran leadership they get from the seniors, but they see talent in the younger classes that will still make both teams competitive.
One area where both Tiger teams can feel confident is in the distance running events. The coaches put the distance kids through a grueling workout at the indoor meet, with most of them running 400, 800 and 1,600 meter races.
The distance races also showed some of the competitive fire that is already burning brightly. Brennan Roby showed he’s ready to run with the top distance runners, holding the lead until the final seconds of a fiercely run 800 meter race. New Richmond freshman Mallory Kelly showed some grit in the girls’ half of the 800. After running well for the first half of the race, she was struggling in pain during the final laps of the race. Kelly wouldn’t step off, grimacing through the pain until she finished the race.
Weiss said she’s seen significant progress from the girls in the junior and sophomore classes since last season.
“They’ve improved themselves so much. They have great attitudes. There’s talent in the freshman class too,” Weiss said.
That point was echoed by Tiger boys coach Roger Reuvers.
“We have a nice nucleus of juniors and sophomores. We have a very small senior class, one of the smallest I remember,” he said.
Reuvers said the boys team has been bolstered by several sophomores and juniors who are new to the team this season. They are quickly finding places where they can contribute to the lineup.
He said the distance runners have the most experience on the team, but areas like the sprints, high jump and throws hold definite possibilities.
“We saw a lot of good stuff, with obviously a lot to work on,” Reuvers said of the time trials. “These kids are extremely coachable. They want to know how to do things right.”
The Tigers return to action this Saturday when they will again be competing at the UW-River Falls indoor facility.