TRACK AND FIELD
With nearly 100 athletes under their wing, coach Dameon Marlow and his assistants have their hands full. It helps that many on the Hornet roster, boys and girls alike, have been around for a few seasons and experienced the success that stems from hard work.
The Hornet boys took the bigger hit at graduation time, the most notable loss being Jackson Gibbon, last year’s SPSL Field Athlete of the Year and a state participant in both the shot put and discus.
But there are still state veterans on the roster. Among those are senior Spencer Brooks, who placed sixth a year ago in the 400-meter run. He also competed at Star Track in the 4×100 relay, which included Grant Swettenam, Payne Plaster and Braedan Clay. All three of those Hornets return as well, Swettenam and Clay as seniors and Plaster for a sophomore season.
Other returnees who made an impact last season are senior Blake Leahy, juniors Jared Zaugg and Riley Maas, and sophomore Cole Riley.
The White River girls’ roster is dotted with athletes who capped successful 2019 seasons with a trip to the state championships in Tacoma. That list includes seniors Makayla Melcher, Jessica Taylor, Emma Robbins and Paidon Froemke; juniors Madison Jenkins, Taylor Schmidtke and Tori Schmidtke; sophomore Maria Hawthorne.
Other Hornet girls to watch for include senior pole vaulter Gabriella Piontek, senior runner Kajsa Holland-Goon and senior sprinter/jumper Sam Fiedler.
White River High’s soccer coach is justifiably upbeat these days. Most of last year’s squad has returned, putting an experienced and positive vibe on the first two weeks of turnouts.
Even the staff is intact, with head coach TJ Suek sharing the sideline with assistants Scot Curran and Lee Sinkovic.
All the returnees helped the Hornets climb to a record of 7-7-2 last season, an improvement over the three seasons prior.
Now, the challenge is to keep the momentum building and Suek seemingly has the pieces in place to make that happen.
For example, Isaac Morris is back, coming off a 2019 season that saw him named the SPSL East Goalie of the Year. Angel Acosta also has returned, having earned first team, all-SPSL honors a year ago. And Kristian Latozke, a second team honoree a year ago, is back at forward.
Other returnees include forward Cristian Senestrari; midfielders Austen Mitchell (captain) and Riley West; and defenders Tanner Penrose, Josh Mackie and Blake Bova.
That battle-tested group is joined by a small handful of newcomers. Sophomores Jonathan Corr and Holden Anderson are expected to contribute, Suek said, and a pair of freshmen, Brayden Bockness and Tate Ringel, have had strong early-season showings.
“The senior and junior leaders have been instrumental in getting the team ready for the 2020 season,” Suek said. Players like Acosta, West and Latozke, he added, “have been stepping it up at practices and bringing a high intensity level that should help us be successful on the field this season.
Suek also singled out players like Senestrari and Mitchell who are “looking to fill more dynamic roles this season and replace the hard work of some of our graduated players.”