Panther track teams look for more SEC dominance

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


The Mt. Pleasant track and field teams are already off and running this season, and they?ve already shown plenty of depth and why they are once again favorites in the Southeast Conference.

Both the girls? and boys? teams return state qualifiers from last year and both teams look extremely strong early in the 2018 season.

The boys? team is led by a pack of hurdlers who may be the best in Class 3A. The shuttle hurdle team of Keegan Rich, Chase Lamm, Cole Burns and Jake Lowe, which finished second at state last year, returns everyone this season. Konnor Peterson has also stepped into the varsity group at times this year. The pack will be among the favorites in the shuttle and provide plenty of firepower in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles.

Cody Mertens was top eight in both the 3200-meter run and the 1600-meter run last year in Class 3A, and he?ll lead the distance runners this year with MPCHS losing former cross-country champion Logan Murray to graduation. Mertens was the lone Panther boy at state cross-country this season and has already shown a ton of promise early in the track season.

Mt. Pleasant also sports an experienced group of sprinters, which will make the relay teams tough to beat this year. The Panther boys also return a talented field crew, led by Rich, who placed fourth in the long jump last year at state.

The girls? team, too, has a ton of returning talent, including a good group of hurdlers. Serenity Keomanivong, Kalynn Batey and Maddie Williamson all return from a state-qualifying shuttle hurdle relay team, and have been joined by freshman Karsyn Lamm. Maggie Cristoforo, a state-qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles, is also back this year.

The distance runners field a boat-load of experience. Among a handful of returning distance runners are Abby Ryon and Taylor Murray, both of which qualified in individual events last season.

Among the girls? sprinters returning is Dani Broeker, who will continue to run the dashes for MPCHS. Returning in the field events are throwers Lexie Magnani and Grace Bittle, both of which made their way to the state meet last year.

Mt. Pleasant has dominated the SEC in recent years and has already flexed its muscle in early meets this season. Both the boys? and the girls? teams have already taken down each conference opponent in at least one meet so far.