The Saratoga Sun -

Panthers streaking to regionals

 

Photo courtesy of Douglas Budget

Saratoga trackster Matthew Lincoln arcs his body over the high-jump pole at the Douglas Invitational Track Meet April 22.

At practice this week, Saratoga High School (SHS) Track and Field Coach Rex Hohnholt emphasized that only four athletes from the school could compete at each event during upcoming regional competitions. Consistency, Hohnholt stressed, was the key to winning the chance to represent SHS in one of those four slots, and that's what he was looking for at the April 22 Douglas Invitational.

"If you want to be one of those four people, we have to see that time's consistently there," Hohnholt said. "You can't just show up two minutes before (an event) and expect to get your best performance. You have to be warmed up, you've got to get your run-throughs, you've got to get out of the box right – you've got to practice all that stuff if you want to be successful," Hohnholt advised.

Hohnholt was happy with the effort and improvement he saw from his team in Douglas. The coach noted that Saratoga was one of the smaller schools at the meet, but said "performance-wise, I thought our kids stood tall against some pretty good competition." According to the coach, there were five or six 3A schools larger than SHS competing at Douglas, two 2A schools (like SHS) and one 1A school smaller than SHS. "We held our own with all of them," Hohnholt said, sounding pleased.

In an effort to figure out which athletes would be the best picks to represent SHS at regionals, Hohnholt was strategic in deciding which events his team would participate in. "We put a lot of kids in sprints," the coach said. On the other hand, Hohnholt said "we emptied out the relays – we didn't run a relay down there because we wanted to see which would be our best kids (to choose to compete at regionals)."

Good weather April 22 was probably one factor, but Hohnholt also said he noticed a sharper competitive edge in his tracksters at Douglas. "You saw a different group of kids and they were competitive, they were fighting to get better times instead of just being average," the SHS athletic director said.

Particularly strong performers at Douglas included Katie Loose, who took 3rd place in the 3200 meter run with a time of 14:23.94. Alex Ziegler also impressed with her 53.37 second fourth-place-finish in the 400 meter dash.

For the boys, Jeremy Detterer continued his streak of dominant performances for a second week. After qualifying for state in the 3200 meter run at the Burns Invitational April 15, Detterer left the April 22 Douglas Invitational with two first place finishes: In the the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:55.48, and in the 3200 meter race with a time of 10:59.49.

Ben Fairbanks likewise had a good week, taking third place in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:01.46.

"Our distances, obviously, were our strong point at the meet, but I was really happy with our improvement that our kids had from the whole season till now," Hohnholt said of the competition overall.

This weekend, the action comes to Saratoga, which will be hosting the Burt Willford Memorial Track Meet 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 30 at Panther Stadium.

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