Paschal track and field coaches Robert Phelps and Fred Tucker hope they can continue a winning tradition from last year.
Last season, the Panthers had many District 4-5A track and field champions and regional qualifiers. Phelps said he hopes the team can continue this tradition when the season begins in February.
Junior Edgar Martinez has been a regional qualifier in cross-country for the past two years in and was a regional qualifier in the two-mile last season.
Also, senior Bryan Carter should compete well this season, Phelps said. Last season, Carter won the 300-meter hurdle race at district and qualified for the regional competition.
The boys’ team is anchored by the strong cross-country team that won district last season and placed second this year. When the team transitions to track and field in the spring, Phelps said, he expects strong competition in the mile, 2-mile and 800-meter races.
On the girls’ side, Tucker said he looks to the strong girls’ cross-country team to compete well in the upcoming season. Since the girls’ team placed first at District this year, he said he was looking forward to how they will perform in the spring.
In the long distance events, Fernanda Garcia is expected to perform well this year, Tucker said. She was fourth in the 2-mile race at District competitions last season, one place shy of Regionals.
This year’s team has about 10 returning varsity runners, Tucker said, so he plans to develop the JV athletes into varsity contenders. Last year’s JV team finished in the top three, so Tucker said he was looking forward to seeing them compete at the varsity level.
Sophomore Ashley Butler, who triple jumps and specializes in the 200-meter race, and junior Jessica Godwin, who runs the 400-meter and 800-meter races, are both expected to compete in the spring, Tucker said.
Tucker said he was also looking forward to seeing Shardae Franklin compete this season. The Lake Worth transfer finished in the top 10 of all of her events: long jump, triple jump, 4×100 meter relay, and 4×400 meter relay last season.
Tucker said there are several incoming freshman who could add some depth to the team this year. Many freshmen from McLean Middle School eighth grade district cross-country champions team should make a nice contribution to the girls’ track team, Tucker said.
Several track athletes have recently finished their football, cross country or volleyball seasons, so offseason training does not begin until next week. During offseason training, Phelps and Tucker said, the athletes would lift weights and have general conditioning until the season begins in February. Around early January, the offseason workouts would begin event-specific work.