Originally Posted Online: April 05, 2012, 7:03 pm
Last Updated: April 05, 2012, 8:10 pm
Sprinting surprise: Alleman buoyed by depth
Comment on this story
By Daniel Makarewicz, firstname.lastname@example.org
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck|
Doing stretching together before track practice Alleman sprinters Ethan DeCap, left, Matt Hubbell, Ian Ferguson, Max Mendoza, Kylee Dorsey and Patrick Ewald. The Pioneers are hoping a deep sprint group can do big things this season after a strong start at last Saturday's Shipley Invitational.
Kenny Lee quickly points out the obvious.
"Traditionally, this school is not known for its sprints," said Lee, the Alleman boys' track coach. "In the past, we have been a distance crew."
Results in the last decade further prove his point, but as Lee put it, "things are changing."
No longer does it appear the Pioneers are leaning on their distance events to score. Instead, they have a sprint corps that is slowly altering the program's reputation.
"The difference is we have depth this year," Lee said. "It goes in cycles. This year, for some reason, the sprint cycle is up. We're going to take advantage of it."
Only once in program history has Alleman had an individual earn a state medal in the sprint event. When Dave Liska finished eighth in the 100-meter dash in the 1996 Class A state finals, some of this year's team members were not even born.
Since that season, the Pioneers have won the program's only four sectional titles and had success at the state level. Yet, the sprint races were nothing more than a filler between the distance events.
One meet may have altered that outlook. In the season-opening Shipley Invitational last week at Moline's Browning Field, the Pioneers displayed their sprint depth and explosiveness. Matt Hubbell won the C-Flight 100 and Kylee Dorsey captured the B-Flight 200.
Another jolt came from the 4x100 relay, which finished third behind Rock Island and United Township.
"It does give you confidence," Alleman senior sprinter Ian Ferguson said of the start. "Coach always tells us not to be afraid of anybody. People are going to look at us and say we don't have a chance, but coming into the season with this start, it gives us a lot more confidence."
What adds to the confidence is how the group performed last Saturday. Validating Lee's assertion that the sprints are improved because of depth, four individuals -- Dorsey, Ferguson, Hubbell and Ethan DeCap -- finished among the top 3 in their respective races.
The next step is building on that success. That starts on Saturday when the Pioneers compete in the United Township Kiwanis Invitational.
"You know, we're going to keep doing what we're doing and keep working hard," Ferguson said. "Obviously, things have been working out so far. Everything's going to get better from this point."
All that starts in practice. With solid results to start the season, the Pioneers know better days lie ahead.
"Every time we run, the main goal is chipping time off all our events," said Alleman junior Adam Hoogerwerf, who ran a leg in the 4x100. "Eventually, that will add up."
More rewards will follow.
"They've put in the time, they've put in the effort," Lee said. "I'm glad this is showing off for them. I'd like to think we can compete with anybody -- that's the mindset they have to have."
Already, the Pioneers have a different outlook.
"We're going to compete with people and run with a chip on our shoulder," Hoogerwerf said.
That approach will not only help the sprinters this year, but in the future. With a talented group already in the fold, Alleman hopes this is the start of a solid run.
"This is a very exciting time," Lee said. "Hopefully, this year goes down to the lower levels so they get excited. Maybe we could get more sprinters involved."
- Where: Soule Bowl, East Moline
- When: 9:30 a.m. Saturday
- Teams: Alleman, Geneseo, Moline, Rock Island, Sherrard, United Township, Pleasant Valley, Maple Park Kaneland, Thornton Fractional North
- Defending champion: United Township