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Peru boys' track building of speed in 2019

OVER THE LINE: Peru senior Josh Adejokun won the 100-meter dash at last year’s TRC Meet (Above) before injury struck during the meet. Adejokun is one of three returning Tigers to win either a TRC or Kokomo Sectional event last season and will be one of the anchors of a squad looking to get out of the middle of the pack in the 2019 season.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

There were a few constants to boys’ track season for Peru in 2018. 

Most of those constants revolved around Josh Adejokun, Tori Forrest and Adam Garner, the three most consistent members of the squad, each of whom won wither a TRC or Kokomo Sectional title. 

All three runners return to a team that showed flashes in fits and starts last year and will need a more concerted effort to make strides in the 2019 season. 

Tiger head coach Adam Zwiebel said the squad needed one thing more than any other as the season begins, 

“Consistency,” Zwiebel said. “At the meets last year, sometimes we were up, sometimes we were in the middle or sometimes down. 

“We want to see consistency in what we do, whether its throwing, hurdles or the 100-meter dash. We want to see consistency.” 

Finding consistency has not always been that easy with the squad limited in what outdoor dates it’s had this year, much like the rest of the teams in the area. 

“We’ve been in the weight room a lot,” Zwiebel noted about practice days. “We’ve used the gyms on a daily basis as well as the hallways. 

“On the couple of days we’ve been able to get outside, we’ve used them to the fullest extent of our practice.” 

Behind Adejokun, Peru had several promising runners in the sprints and with a year of added experience, Zwiebel said the group would be the foundation for the squad this season. 

“We have really good short-distance runners this year,” Zwiebel said. “Josh is back and healthy. 

“We explained to him he wasn’t stretching and warming up enough and have worked with him on that. Dakota Scarlett has shown a lot of explosion as well as two new athletes in DJ Fuller and Art Dominique who are going to sprint for us. 

“We’re building some depth in those events,” Zwiebel added. “We’ve got some seniors but some good sophomores and freshmen that are going to compete for us.” 

Forrest will anchor the hurdling events with some experienced backups according to Zwiebel. 

 “Tori and Dakota are our guys in the 300-meter hurdles,” Zwiebel said. “Dakota PR’d at the sectional last year so it was good to see him peaking at the end of the year. 

“Greyson Spohn will be a guy we use at 110-meter hurdles with Tori.” 

Meanwhile, Garner found a running partner in junior Ryan Smith to work with last year and Zwiebel said the pair would again anchor the upper distance races.

“Last year was Ryan’s first year of running track and he stayed around Adam a lot,” Zwiebel said. “He would go out and just run last year but this season he’s been focused on racing, pushing Adam along the way.

“We talked another runner in Alex Legg to come out this year with those guys running our middle and long distance as well as the 3200-meter relay.” 

In-between, Zwiebel said several newer faces would be looking to hold down the 400-meter dash. 

“We’re relying on a couple of new faces for our 400-meter dash,” Zwiebel said. “We’ve got a new runner in Treyden Curtis we’re going to put in there along with Brayden Bockover. 

“Darien Cleaver is also training for the open 400 this year while Cole Sailors is a freshman in the event. We have some depth and hopefully they put up some good fight.” 

Field events were hit-and-miss throughout the 2018 season with Peru using a young group to do most of the jumping events. 

Many of those same jumpers return and Zwiebel expects the competition level to drive the group to bigger and better things. 

“We had some decent depth in the field events last year and with some more coaching, more time in the weight room and more consistency, they’ll show some big improvements,” Zwiebel said. “Greyson has done a lot of work in the weight room, has worked his butt off and is looking better already in the high jump while DJ is also going to do some work in the high jump. 

“Dairen and Dakota are both going to be doing the long jump while Bryce Cochran is going to be doing a bit of both as is Preston Jenkins. We’ve got a pretty good jumping squad this year with some depth in both events.” 

Depth in the throwing events took a hit with the unexpected departure of Luke Voirol but Zwiebel said the two returning throwers had experience at the big meets and a full year in the weight room to build off of. 

“Draven Waters, in the last couple of meets, was our best shot put thrower as a freshman,” Zwiebel pointed out. “Jack Buckley threw discuss for us while Brayden Masters throws in both events. 

“All these guys are young and hitting the weight room so with that and some coaching, we’ll see where they go.”

Adejokun, Forrest and Garner provided the bulk of the points for Peru in the TRC and Kokomo Sectional meets with the latter pair advancing to the Warsaw Regional. 

Zwiebel wanted to see some of the load shifted off the senior trio but said in order for the team to improve on the seventh and eighth-place finishes it got last season, it would require the whole of the squad to drag one another forward. 

“We have to come in with the mentality that we’re going to grind and do what we’re supposed to do,” Zwiebel said. “We need to be coachable and put the time in. 

“If we don’t put the time or the effort in, it’s not going to work, so we need to put the work in.”