Three seniors lead the way for Warriors’ track
Peabody-Burns track and field head coach Brian Lightner is taking a patient, cautious approach in his third season at the helm for the Warriors.
For instance, the most important meet for him is the Wheat State League meet May 9 in Goessel.
“The majority of the team will be done after league,” Lightner said. “Seventy-five to 80 percent of the team is done.”
Lightner will only take a few athletes to the regional meet May 17 because it costs the district money for every entry and because he wants the athletes who are going to take the event seriously.
“It’s about getting to state,” he said.
For the few Warriors heading to regionals, Lightner will modify their practice regimens to make sure they are in the best condition. That may mean giving athletes more rest or pushing them even harder.
One example of this is senior thrower Lucas Larsen. Lightner said Larsen peaked too early last season in the discus. The normal progression for a thrower is to have strong times at the beginning of the year, tire in the middle of the season, apply rest, and then have the distances ramp up in time for league and regional meets.
Another coaching point for Larsen is to pinpoint which throw is his best that season. At different times in his high school career, he has excelled in each throw: javelin, discus, and shot put. Shot put has been the most consistent.
Regardless, Larsen is the captain of the throws team, one of the Warriors’ senior leaders, and a lock to go to regionals. Seniors Seth Topham and Zach Preheim are Larsen’s counterparts on the track.
Lightner said Topham is more vocal than Preheim but that both seniors will be important to lead a boys’ track team made up primarily of sophomores and freshmen. There are 20 boys out for the team. They both compete in the hurdles with Preheim specializing in the 300-meter hurdles.
Topham was a state qualifier in the high jump last season, placing sixth at the state meet. His personal best jump was 6 feet.
Topham and Preheim are joined on the track by returning letter winners sophomore Michael George, junior Christian Chastain, and sophomore Braxton Kyle. George and Kyle are candidates to join Preheim on relay teams. Lightner said George improved every meet last season in his first year.
Kyle also high jumps and throws javelin. Chastain is a distance runner for the Warriors.
Larsen leads a strong group of throwers. Senior Jayden Miller placed in the top five in the shot put at the Wheat State meet last year. Fellow senior Adam Sheffler specializes in the discus. He plans to throw every implement. Sophomore Colten Terronez should throw every device.
The Warriors have one female thrower this season, senior Kortney Foth who plans to throw shot put, javelin, and discus.
“She’s our first girl thrower in three years,” Lightner said.
It’s a bit lonelier on the entire PBHS girls’ squad with only seven girls out for the team.
Sophomores Kenzie Young and Carlee Wentworth are the only returning letter winners for the team. Young ran the distance events for the Warriors last season. Wentworth ran relays and threw the javelin.
Senior Brandee Burnett is also out for the team after not participating in track the previous two seasons. Lightner was not sure where Burnett would fit into the team; it was a possibility she would run sprints.
The Warriors begin the season at 4:30 p.m. April 2 at the Herington Central Kansas Track League meet. Peabody will host a meet April 9. Important meets for the Warriors are consecutive outings at the James Thomas Invitational in Hillsboro on April 26, competing against strong 3A and 4A competition, and the Herington Invitational meet May 2.