Last season the Perry boys sent five events to the state track meet, with a total of seven athletes competing. Of those, only three return, leaving head coach Ben Coy facing a rebuilding season that will almost certainly entail a refocusing as well.
Gone are seniors Keegan Pfau (sixth in the 1600 and 13th in the 3200) and Scott James (tied for seventh in the high jump). Both ran with senior Nic Wilhelmi and freshman Reece Dunlap in the sixth-place medley relay, and both Pfau and James were a part of the 4×400 relay, along with Marcus Meri and Adan Medina, that placed 19th.
“Obviously we lose quite a bit in the 1600 and 3200, so we will be looking at new faces there,” Coy said. “I do like what we have coming back in sprints, and, depending on how we juggle the lineup, we can get points in some of the middle distance events, too.”
Dunlap and senior Eli Saemisch will run 100s and 200s, with Meri and Medina choices at 200 as well. A wide range of runners are likely to battle for the eventual spots at 400 and 800 meters, with Meri, Medina, Dunlap, Alexis Garrido, Bradley Godwin and Kaleb Olejniczak figuring in the early mix at 400, with Zach and Jacob Thompson, Alex Long, Juma Bushiri, Olejniczak and one or two others some of the choices at 800 meters.
“At this point it is tough to say for sure who fits where, but Bushiri can run 1600, and Mario Cruz and Gerardo Gonzalez will as well,” Coy said. “Mario and Gerardo will run the 3200 for us … I am not sure we have anyone else who will.”
Relays are, of course, nearly impossible to set early in the season.
“That is one of those things that is going to depend on the meet, how many meets in a week we are going to run, that kind of thing,” Coy said. “The coaches think we can put one or two good relays together, but it will be few weeks before they start to be set.”
No decision has been made on any of the three hurdle events (100, shuttle relay and 400).
“We have several guys who might fit in there, but we will have to wait and see,” Coy said. “Hurdles are something that might sort themselves out as we go.”
Coy said he was unsure if the team would have anyone compete in the high jump, although he would happily accept anyone willing to learn the discipline.
Nic Fellom, Rashon Ivory, Justin Stammer, Gage Welch and Olejniczak are the current leading choices in the long jump while J.R. McCord, Tony Le and Saemisch appear to have the edge in throwing events.
Several new faces are on the team for the first time this year, with Coy unsure where they might be able to help.
“Competition will sort things out,” he said. “We are looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do. Now, like every year, we just sit back, hope the weather is good and, most of all, hope we can avoid injuries.”
The Bluejays will be joined by their Jayette counterparts in hosting the 9th annual Davis Relays at Kaufman Track Thursday. Both Perry squads will be in action twice next week as they participate in the Gilbert Relays April 5 and at the Hugh Cavanaugh Relays in Woodward April 7. All three meets are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.