Login NowClose 
Sign In to perutribune.com           
Forgot Password
or if you have not registered since 8/22/18
Click Here to Create an Account

Peru girls' track soldiers on

FORGING AHEAD: Peru will be relying on a small number of runners to make moves during the upcoming girls’ track and field season. Junior Elsie Walters (pictured) was among the small returning group of runners that will be asked to take on a greater role in the 2019 season.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Peru knows the score when it comes to the upcoming girls’ track and field season.

The Tigers saw several key members graduate at the end of the 2018 season while a solid group of Jr. High runners are still a year away from competing at the high school level.

The 2019 season falls on a small group of runners to march on this year until needed help arrives with head coach Stephanie Bennett saying the group hasn’t let the small size affect their work mentality.

“We’ve got around 10 individuals with a couple of others that have started recently,” Bennett said. “Among the 10, we have nine runners and a thrower.

“Five of those run middle and long distance and the other four are short-distance runners. The girls that are here are willing to work hard,  

Peru has limited returning options with the most prominent being Elsie Walters and Mya Lancaster, both middle and long-distance runners.

Bennett said Walters showed some potential last season and wanted to see how well she performed without Jaelin Richardson leading the pack.

“Elsie will be stepping into Jaelin’s spot in the 800-meter run,” Bennett said. “She was behind Jaelin last year but started to learn how to race and I see her competing more this year.

“Last year, she was just running but we want to see her race because we felt she could have stayed up there with Jaelin.”

Other returning runners for the Tigers include Great Baker, Abby Rogers and Carlee Marburger, the latter two whom were hit by injury last year, a trio Bennett said would be important once healthy.

“Carlee and Abby both were on the team but were injured for most of last season,” Bennett said. “Carlee was hurt before the season started and didn’t get to compete while Abby was only able to compete in a couple of meets.

“We expect those two to help out as the season goes on. Greta hurdled for us last year but won’t be available until April”

Bennett said the rest of the current Peru squad would be finding their way into the team with two freshmen joining that could give the group a lift in the hurdles.

“The rest are young freshmen and sophomores who are new but working hard and taking things in,” Bennett said. “They want to be here and we love it.

“Kyleigh Brown and Bradee Miller are both freshmen hurdlers that have been working with Tori Forrest and their form has already improved quite a bit. Taylor Colter and Mallory Grund have both recently come out and those two along with Olivia LaBare look like they will be 400 or 800-meter runners.”

Among the throwing events, Bennett Shalayia Forthner would be shouldering the load for the Tigers and, while new to the sport, had plenty of room to grow into both events.

“Our one thrower, Shalayia, is a freshman who hasn’t thrown before,” Bennett noted. “That said, she has been doing some very impressive things in the weight room.

“We have a great throwing coach in (Adam Zwiebel) and she is picking up things quickly. We expect her to do some great things.”

With numbers limited, team victories will be far from the mind for Peru as the 2019 season progresses.

Bennett said instead of focusing on points, the team was keyed in on performances and felt the group had the right mix of work ethic and desire to keep improvements coming throughout the season.

“Every meet, we’re looking for PRs,” Bennett said. “IF they can better their times, that’s our goal.

“By the time we get to the conference and sectional meets, we want to be able to score some points, no matter what that number is. We want the girls to continue getting better, continue to work hard and better our best every meet.”