PHOTOS BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton senior Grace Greer throws discus April 9 at the track and field meet in Smithville.
Dalton’s Bradie Ramella
Dalton’s Collin Jones competes in shotput April 9 at Smithville.
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
New members of Dalton High School’s varsity track and field teams are working hard to find areas where each athlete can excel.
“We have a lot of new athletes this year, so one of both team’s goals is to figure out what events are best for each athlete,” said Dalton’s coach Jodi Augspurger. “As a result, the athletes will be trying a variety of events early on in the season before narrowing it down to what they do best in.”
Even though these teams have a mix of new and returning members, the athletes have already created strong bonds in practice.
“Some of the most positive aspects include the camaraderie that exists among the athletes – their ability to laugh with one another and encourage one another,” said Augspurger. “Seeing upperclassmen help the young athletes walk through a specific drill or sharing their own experiences to help calm a new athlete’s nerves is heartwarming to a coach. We have strong leaders in our veteran athletes and they are going to be the glue that holds our team together.”
Augspurger did not name a specific prediction for her team’s strengths this season. She said there are multiple possibilities for strengths and it is best to wait to see how those strengths emerge as the season unfolds.
Thirteen seniors on the boys team include: Boyd Elett, Logan Everett, Sean Geiser, Trevor Horst, Dakota Kerby, Karey Lehman, Paul Lisic, Jaiden Malone, Adam Marthey, Jordan Muth, Lucas Oswald, Bradie Ramella and Max Zoldak. Five seniors on the girls team are: Grace Greer, Aly Jackson, Courtney Nolt, Molly Soehnlen and Melanie Wenger.
Losing last season’s seniors will impact the team, but the gap they left will open opportunities for younger athletes.
“We’re going to really feel the loss of last year’s seniors, especially after all of the success that they experienced and the friendships that they made while they were with us,” said Augspurger. “Younger athletes have been inspired by those seniors and realize that now they have an opportunity to step into those roles.”
Augspurger detailed some keys for a successful season: “Good weather, healthy minds, healthy bodies, showing improvement with a competitive spirit and a willingness to learn from and work with your teammates.”
Dalton found success at the McCay Relays April 9 at Smithville. The Dawgs placed first in the boys 4×800-meter relay. Other notable events for Dalton included second place finishes in the boys 4x1600m relay, the girls 4x100m relay, the girls distance medley and the girls 800 sprint medley.
In the field events, Quentin Lehman placed fourth in the boys discus throw relay and Collin Jones finished sixth in the same event. In the girls high jump relay, Vivi Cisar tied for first place and Lauren Clos tied for sixth place. Dalton placed third in the boys overall team rankings and fourth in the girls team rankings.