Truckee track preview: Wolverines tuning up for crunch time
It’s still very early in the high school track season, and that’s a good thing for the Truckee speedsters, who have had to train by jogging, sprinting and bounding their way through the same cramped hallways in which they walk to class.
They’ve had decent success in the few early-season meets, said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer. But, now in his eighth year with the track team, Shaffer tells his athletes ” and himself ” that what matters are the big meets in May, when the league, zone and state championships are on the line.
Shaffer said Truckee, whose track is still not available for practice, has to stay patient.
“We all deal with a bit of a setback early in the season,” said Shaffer, also the school’s head football coach and athletic director. “With the weather, without a track, it’s very difficult for us to be real successful early in the year because we only have asphalt or our hallways to train on. But we’ve been here many, many years, and we keep our eyes on the big picture down the road.”
When that time comes, Shaffer’s boys team has some strong legs to ride, particularly in the middle distance and distance events, from the 800-meter to the 3,200-meter races.
“Our strength is definitely our middle distance runners and distance runners,” Shaffer said. “It was the same way last year, and a lot of those guys are back. It’s mainly our 800 group, but they can run the 2-mile and they can drop down to the (400-meter dash) if we need them.”
That group is led by senior Micah Silver, who competed at last year’s 3A state meet in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. His coach thinks a state title is well within reach this year. He’ll be pushed by sophomores Tony Rodriquez and Tyler Brook and juniors Vince Shaffer and Chris Gallagher, who also run the distance events.
In the sprint events, Truckee will not be the force it was last year after losing three of the four members from its state champion 4×200-meter relay team. Senior C.J. Ackerman returns, but fellow sprinter Cory Sharp transferred to McQueen, while Ryan Roberts opted out of track this season after having shoulder surgery.
“We took a hit in the speed area this year,” Shaffer said. “But I think we can still be pretty strong in the 200 and 400.”
In contrast to the boys, the girls team will find most of its points this year coming from the sprint events, with sophomore standout Kelsey Decker leading the way. Along with freshmen Shauna Day and Mikaela Arnstein ” who have both impressed early ” the team has some powerful sprinters.
“Kelsey looks to be in good form and is doing well this year, and Shauna and Mikaela have done really well so far,” Shaffer said.
The trick, Shaffer said, is finding that fourth athlete to round out a solid team for the all-important relay events. He thinks he may have that in senior Katie Dill, who is running track for the first time after playing a key role on Truckee’s back-to-back state champion soccer team.
“She was an outstanding player on our soccer team, but we want her to step in and complete that foursome for our relays,” Shaffer said.