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North Miami pushes forward with small track squads

LEAD OUT: North Miami junior Nicky Scher (Pictured at the TRC Meet) qualified for two events the Kokomo Regional last year, racing in the 1600-meter run, and returns as the primary focus for the Warrior girls’ track team in 2019. Scher will be leading a group which will look to break the schools’ 3200-meter record this year.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

The ebb-and-flow of track participation has seen North Miami send two athletes to the IHSAA Track and Field State finals in the past two years yet be hard pressed to find much team success during the same period.

A memorable run at the TRC Meet on the girls’ side in 2017 has given way to a squad that is looking more at setting new school records while the boys’ side scraps together what it can heading into the 2019 season.

Warrior head coach Jason Faine, who will coach both squads this season, said the girls’ squad is compiled of a couple of groups on the track, one focused around junior Nicky Scher, who advanced to the Kokomo Regional in the 1600-meter run, in the middle distance races with a younger group working around the sprints.

“We talked some girls out this year and we’ve got a group that has dreams of breaking the 3200-meter relay record,” Faine said. “That group includes Nicky, Kaylee Lane, Josie Haskett and Paris Butler.

“Kaylee did well during cross country season and we think she can push hard in the 800-meter run as we felt she had a chance to advance from sectional last year. Annika Oliver will be doing hurdles and helping in the relays while Brianna Greer is a freshman who has potential in the sprints

“Kaylin Pattison and Macey Stockdale, also freshmen, are both going to be pretty decent athletes for us in the sprints or middle distance,” Faine added.

The other half of the squad is centered around the field events, particularly the throwing side of the field, with Madison France and Kayla Kranning leading the group.

“Madison and Kayla are our main throwers with Madison our best in discus and Kayla our best shot put,” Faine noted. “Abby Richardson is a freshman who shows some potential in those events and we have several others out to throw this year.”

North Miami finished eighth at the TRC Meet and Rochester Sectional last year, most of which came down to Faith White’s exploits in both the long and high jump.

Even with a larger girls’ squad than the previous year, Faine said there were several areas the Warriors still needed to be covered, though having several freshman out did give the team some options as to where those empty spots can be filled.

“Our versatility comes from our relay group, which takes us from the 100 to the 800-meter run,” Faine said. “Nicky is going to be the girl winning a lot of races while we want to see Madison get back up over 100 feet in discus.

“We also want to see the freshmen work hard and get better. It’s nice to have several of them come out this year instead of watch them reach high school and head on to other sports.”

Numbers are even smaller for the boys’ team, which finished 10th at both the TRC Meet and Plymouth Sectional.

Faine said the returning crew was working hard to improve on their finishes from last year.

“Trey Mettler works hard and will battle with people in the distance races while also doing long jump,” Faine said. “Canaan Scott has some potential in the shot put and discus, throwing in the 40s in the former.

“Carson Rexroad is in the weight room all the time and is working hard. Lonnie Johnson is out for us as a high jumper while Auston Hileman returns as a distance runner and Zane Hanaway is looking to run some of the sprints along with Greg Brault.

“Owen Hileman is a taller kid who we’re still trying to figure out what to do with while Seth Ireland is a freshman who will be throwing for us,” Faine added.

With limited participants, Faine said most of the meet would be individual-event focused though there was enough individuals willing to put together relay teams this season.

“We’ve got enough guys to throw together a 3200-meter relay team while the throwers have also been running and want to do a relay,” Faine said. “They’ve been serious in the way they’ve approached things.”