By Ray Conner
Track is one of those “individual” team sports that exist.
The athletes perform mostly as individuals, with the exception of relay races, but their performance goes to helping the team in scoring points.
The Kern Valley teams began this year with the same motto as previous seasons. Both head coaches agree, it’s about the individual athlete making the most out of their abilities. They push their athletes to achieving individual goals and advancing as far as they are capable. Each coach keeps it in mind to let each athlete on the team attempt to qualify for the end of the season meet of CIF.
The changes in division this year will make it that much more difficult, but the coaches believe the athletes on the team can and will overcome the obstacles and represent Kern Valley further down the lane.
Once again the teams are coached by Brian Christianson for the Broncs squad and Brent Mixon for the Lady Broncs. Jimmy Thompson is not ready to totally give up helping athletes improve and will be back assisting the throwers on both teams.
Each coach was presented a list of preview questions for the upcoming year. These are their responses starting with the Lady Broncs.
1. What year of coaching are you in? This is my eighth year coaching track.
2. Who, if any, are your assistant coaches? Jimmy Thompson will be working with the throwers.
3. How many players are on this year’s team? We have a total of 16 female athletes.
4. What are the names and grades of all the athletes? Abby Achorn, Alyson Bangert, Arika D’Amico, Rachel Driskell, Adeline Goulding, Chyann Hiles, Alyssa McKillop, Sharon Reyes, Isabella Williams, Faith Oetting, Madison Mariano, Kaycee Donaldson, Dori Ross, Echo Girado, Sydney Martinez and Hannah Hurley.
5. How many returners are there and what are their names? We have nine returners and they are: Achorn, Bangert, D’Amico, Driskell, Goudling, Hiles, McKillop, Reyes and Williams.
6. What is your goal as the coach this season? My number one goal for the young ladies is to have fun, and we would also like to hang a banner in the gym.
7. What is your goal for the athletes this season? Obviously, I would like to see the girls become competitive, which means improving each week. I would love to see more of our young ladies compete at the college level, like Julia Amstutz.
8. Who are the key losses from last year’s team? Julia Amstutz, who is now competing at Cal State Monterey Bay.
9. Who are the potential key additions to this year’s team? We have seven new faces that will all play a role if we are going to be competitive. We have both Driskell and Achorn back who missed there track season last year due to knee surgeries.
10. What are you looking for in the non-league portion of the schedule? When we go to invitational meets it is getting our kids experience, and qualified for future meets.
11. Who are the teams to beat in the HDL? Both Cal City and Desert.
12. What is the strength of your team? Our running both short and long distance is going to be our strength this year.
13. What are the areas that need work? Our throwing is going to be our area where we are least experienced.
14. A closing statement: We have four home meets this year and we would love for the valley come and support what we hope to be a great season.
1. What year of coaching are you in? I think that this is my ninth year coaching the boys’ team.
2. Who, if any, are your assistant coaches? Jimmy Thompson will be coaching the throwers.
3. How many players are on this year’s team? We are still waiting for a few to get cleared – right now we have 21 boys.
4. What are the names and grades of all the athletes? Seniors: Shawn Luker, John Erdei, Paul Johnson, Tahoe Taylor. Juniors: Jeffrey Cawein, Brett Grimsby, Michael McBride, Juan-Carlos Lopez, Kyle Lubin, Zach Goss, Davin Lee, Blake Waldrop. Sophomores: James Davis, Noah Alexander, Dakota Smith. Freshmen: Gerron Cassady, Mack Wargo, Carson Alten, James Meachem, Wyatt Lykins and Josh Wesala.
5. How many returners and what are their names? Eight returners in Luker, Erdei, Taylor, Grimsby, McBride, Davis, Alexander and Smith.
6. What is your goal as the coach this season? I want each athlete to keep getting better in their event(s), and to set personal records throughout the season.
7. What is your goal for the athletes this season? I want the athletes to be able to push themselves, and to continue to improve throughout the season.
8. Who are the key losses from last year’s team? A.J. Duncan
9. Who are the potential key additions to this year’s team? I am really excited to welcome all of the new athletes this season.
10. What are you looking for in the non-league portion of the schedule? Athletes will need to use the invitational meets to qualify for the All-Area Invitational at the end of the season.
11. Who are the teams to beat in the HDL? Cal City is the team to beat.
12. What is the strength of your team? Brett Grimsby will be an exciting thrower to watch this season. We will also have some good jumpers and sprinters this season.
13. What are the areas that need work? We need to get more middle distance and long distance runners.
14. A closing statement: The CIF Central Section has changed around the post season this year. In the past, there has been two divisions in the CIF Central Section (Kern Valley was in Division 2.)
Now, the CIF Central Section will have four areas – Kern Valley will be in the South Area.
Coalinga will be the place that Kern Valley begins its season. They will compete in the Coalinga Invitational on Friday.