The boys and girls track and field teams from Pratt High begin the 2014 campaign this week.

Derek Liggett takes over the reins of the Pratt High track program this spring with good numbers to work with, but getting off to somewhat of a belated start. “We have right at 50 out for track now,” Liggett explained. “But in our early workouts, we only had about 30 because both boys and girls basketball went to State, and the weather wasn’t good, and then we had Spring Break— so this is really the first week we’ve been able to get much done.”

The boys outnumber the girls almost two to one, but Liggett foresees both teams being able to compete. “I like our numbers on the boys side,” he said. “We’re going to be able to fill all the events and should be able to score well using our depth. On the girls side, we won’t have as many events filled, but the girls we have are going to place near the top, so the girls will be able to score using their strength.”

Liggett is blessed with veteran event coaches. Kathy Hitz (distance), Jason Gallagher (throws) and Scott Powell (jumps/vault) all return with experience and success under their belts. New this season, Jamie Cruce joins the squad as sprinter coach. Liggett will, of course, have supervisory control over all while working most directly with the hurdlers and middle distance runners.

In field events, senior Josh Powell returns to pole vault, frosh Samson Kohman will compete in high jump and Shawn Ramos should do well in the distance jumps. Sophomore Jerod Theis could be the boys’ leading thrower, an area that lost quite a bit to graduation last spring.

On the track, Devon Koehler and Nick Koler return in the sprints; Ryan Landry, Josh Ash and Chance Reh will return at the middle distances and be joined by freshmen Hunter Kaufman and Samson Kohman; and Joseph Loomis returns with the best credentials in the distance races.

A wild card is junior Derek Barnard, out for track for the first time this spring. “He is strong and athletic,” observed Coach Liggett. “We’ll find something for him to do.”

On the girls’ side, Paige Bailey and Jaci Kolm return at sprinter/jumper. Frosh Hannah Coates is showing promise at high jump. Seniors Morgan Strong and Chloe Cannata are both experienced and successful vaulters. Jenson Maydew is a three-time State contender in throws. Her mates Samaria Kohman and Kayla Baer joined her at State in discus last season, so PHS looks solid in the throws.

At 800m, senior Adele Loomis is “set to have a big year,” according to Coach Liggett. Freshman Halle Helfrich was State runner-up in crosscountry last fall, and looks to repeat that distance success on the cinders.

So while not as numerous as the boys, the Lady Greenbacks are still well-positioned to have a nice season based on their strength.

The Frog thinclads will open the spring campaign at Nickerson on Thursday April 4.