Not having a lot of numbers may hurt the West Liberty High School boys track and field team this season, according to 10th year head coach Gus Garcia.
With just four letter winners returning including just one senior, the Comets hope to improve on a sixth place 2019 finish in the River Valley Conference this season after not being able to get on the track last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and the shut down of fall sports in Iowa.
Senior Sam Gingerich and juniors Jahsiah Galvan, Caleb Wulf and Ashton Burroughs are expected to lead the Comets on the asphalt this year with Gingerich, the lone senior, returning as a hurdler and sprinter while Galvan also returns in the sprints as does Wulf and Burroughs is the ace on the long distance side of the course.
Other members of the team include juniors Jack Mahoney in long distance, Trenten Vilent as a sprinter, Felipe Molina in shot put and disc, along with sophomores Drake Collins in sprints, and classmate Joshua Zeman, another sprinter. Freshman on the team include shot put and disc thrower Quintyn Rocha, long distance runner Joquin Elizondo, sprinter Jayce Mchugh and Morgan Lehman, another sprinter who also is a thrower.
The coach said he’s not sure who’s going to shine on the track this season, but says his four letter winners have competed against stiff competition and he’s hoping the foursome can lead his young team.
“We have three letter winners who have state track experience including Sam in the hurdles, Jahsiah in sprints and Ashton in the 1600 meters,” the coach said, noting one of the main goals this year will be keeping the team COVID-19 free.
“The toughest part of not having a season last year is not being able to train for one year,” the coach said.
The team opens their season this Saturday at noon in a multiple school meet at Iowa City Regina before going to Wapello Monday for another multiple team meet beginning at 4 p.m.
The Comets go to Durant on April 6 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Meets at Tipton on April 8, Wapello on April 13, Mid-Prairier on April 20 proceed the Comet’s first home meet.
The first home meet for the Comets will take place on Thursday, April 22. West Liberty also hosts a meet on April 30.
The River Valley Conference meet will be held in Anamosa on Thursday, May 6, beginning at 4:30 p.m.