On a cold Monday afternoon, the East Jackson track and field team toiled away, preparing for its season opening Eagle Invitational this Saturday, March 2.
While conditions weren’t optimal, East Jackson head coach Tomy Sitton was forced to make do.
In fact, when asked about his focus at practice early in the season, Sitton simply replied, “To get a practice in without it raining.”
Practice was called off several times last week due to weather, and conditions this week are questionable.
Still, Sitton and his team are focused on gearing up for the season and hope to build on the success that the program met in 2012.
Last year, the Eagles sent four athletes to state, two of which are returning their talents to the 2013 Eagle squad.
Senior Jeff Chandler, who placed second in state in the shot put (46-10), will vie for another shot at a state title.
Montell Reynolds, who finished eighth in the 300-meter hurdles (41.47), will also look to make improvements this season.
The Eagles will also return 2012 sectional qualifiers Randi Slizewski (third, shot put, 30-8 at area) and Robin Adair, who placed in two events at area – the 400 meters (fourth, 1:04.53) and the high jump (third, 4-8).
Sitton says it is a very realistic goal to send three to four throwers to sectionals this season.
While East Jackson’s state champion runner Cale Pirtle (3,200 meters) graduated last May, Sitton has high hopes for the Eagles in speed events.
Sitton hopes that with hard work and conditioning, he can help get cross county standouts Vladik Staples’ and Noah Hulett’s times down under 10:30 in the 3,200 meters and under 4:40 in the 1,600 meters.
“Hopefully we can break a few school records to build on the records broken by last spring’s team,” added Sitton.
Saturday, East Jackson will begin its road to the area meet at home in its Eagle Invitational.
The meet will host several area teams including Jefferson and Jackson County. Sitton hopes that the invitational will give the Eagles a peek at the potential talent in the region.
Field events begin at 10 a.m. Track events start at 1:30 p.m.