High school track

Track: Spring Valley favored in 4A

ainelson@thestate.comMay 9, 2013 

For several years, Spring Valley boys’ track and field has been near the top of the podium. This season, the Vikings might have the manpower to take that extra step to the top at Saturday’s Class 4A track and field championship.

Led by coach John Jones, Spring Valley’s teamwork will be the key to success this weekend as the Vikings look to improve on their silver medal finishes of the past three seasons.

“We have the most entries into the state meet, so if you look at it that we probably are favored, but we’ve still got to go out and perform,” Jones said. “We’ve got a really great group of seniors. They’ve been here four years and they’ve worked really hard to get to this point.”

The Vikings could earn their weight in gold in the relay races.

Spring Valley has the fastest seed time in the 1,600 relay, with the team of Bradley Gibson, Tom Hoeffel, Connor McCormack and Neal Paschal.

“This relay team missed the state record by one second last year, and they’ve worked really hard,” Jones said. “I’m hoping this year they can get it done. It would just be great for them.”

With the same runners, Jones’ 3,200-meter relay squad had several strong performances this season, and heads into the finals seeded fourth after running 8 minutes, 14.71 seconds at the qualifier. Local competitor Lexington has the inside lane in that race after its 8:14.24 qualifying time, and Jones said the Wildcats will likely push their Vikings in their toughest race of the season.

Aside from their relays, the Vikings’ strength is in the mid-distance races. Both Terrell Simmons and Gibson are looking to earn points in the 400. In the 800, McCormack has the top seed, while Hoeffel looks to add points out of lane five. Cameron Pratt is going for gold with the top seed in the 400 hurdles, and Simmons is seeded third in the 200.

But all the work will not be done on the track. The field events give Spring Valley a boost towards a state title.

“We’ve got an athlete in every field event, and that doesn’t happen very often,” Jones said.

Richard Fish has one of the top seeds in the pole vault, Jalen Wilson is the frontrunner in the shot put, Malik Wilson and Chris Wilson will be in the jumps, and Bryant Carlos in the discus.

As is his habit, Jones has the meet scored out and will spend Saturday watching the points roll in, hoping this year they add up to victory.

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