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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Boys track strides to rebuild, repeat success

Senior+Xzavian+Blackman+runs+the+300+hurdles+during+the+Midtown+opener+meet+on+Feb.+27.
Farris Duwayri
Senior Xzavian Blackman runs the 300 hurdles during the Midtown opener meet on Feb. 27.

Last year, the boys track team finished ninth in the State Championship with multiple athletes ending up on the podium. The Knights are hoping to make the podium this year as a team. 

Last year, several athletes, who placed at state, graduated, including Kyron Parker and Ricardo Lewis, who both pursued collegiate track careers. Lewis placed second in triple jump, fifth in the 100 meters and seventh in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays at the State Championship. Parker was sixth in the 300 hurdles and also on the two relays.

“It’s a huge difference from this year and last year,” senior hurdler Xavian Blackman said. “From the talent level, we lost a lot of seniors. We [have a] young team with a lot of potential, but it is just going to take time to build our team back to where we were last year.”

Head coach Delbert Ellerton said each year seniors are lost, so this adjustment is nothing different.

“We don’t have ready-made athletes who just come out there, and they’re just star athletes,” Ellerton said. “Even the kids who graduated last year, they were not like that when they came in, for instance Ricardo didn’t start running track until junior year. Every year we basically have to start from scratch and mold our athletes into what they become.”

Blackman believes Ellerton’s coaching ability will help the team reach as far as last year.

“The goal for the team is like any sport, everybody contributing in their individual event, pushing themselves, having growth and feeling accomplished,” Blackman said. “We have a lot of new kids, so coach Ellerton is helping guide them to success and becoming better at their events.”

Ellerton said the team is struggling to find a true short sprinter, creating a roster gap.

“It’s a matter of finding the right pieces,” Ellerton said. “We have some holes that we need to fill, and it’s going to be kind of difficult. It’s like putting together pieces in a puzzle. I do think we have some potential to have someone who can at least place fairly high at the region [championship] in the 400.”

Despite not having a true short sprinter, Ellerton believes the team will have success if athletes put in the hard work.

“The main thing is that the athletes just need to come consistently and work hard,” Ellerton said. “It’s pretty simple. If you come and work hard, and you put your full effort into it, you’re going to improve. If you do that, that’s all I can really ask for. They just need to do the basic things of showing up everyday and working hard when they’re there.”

Ellerton believes the distance group is looking strong. Sophomore Cameron Collier had a standout cross country season, dropping his previous year’s time in the 5k by over two minutes.

“The distance team has been training diligently in the offseason;conditioning was offered as optional, and there were a lot of people who came,” Collier said. “The people who came and were ready to start the season early are some of the fittest on the team with already months of training under themselves. It looks very strong early in the season, so that’s a good indicator.”

Ellerton said the Knights are in a strong position to start the season because both the hurdle and field events also appear promising. 

“Every year we have a goal of maximizing our talent, and sometimes that ends up giving us a championship of some sort, a region championship or city championship,” Ellerton said. “The main thing is first to get the most out of the kids that we have.”

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About the Contributors
Cate Barton
Cate Barton, Sports Managing Editor
Cate Barton is a junior and this is her third year writing for The Southerner. She enjoys soccer, basketball, running and hanging out with friends. She is excited to continue writing for The Southerner.
Farris Duwayri
Farris Duwayri, News Associate Managing Editor
Farris Duwayri is a junior and this is his third year on the staff. He enjoys playing Midtown's football team and debate team. He likes cars and hanging out with friends

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