Whittell track numbers stay close to normal | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell track numbers stay close to normal

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

Dan ThriftWhittell High sprinters, from left, Mari Johnson, Tara Scaduto and Ian MacKelvie build their strength by running the hill on Warrior Way on Tuesday afternoon in Zephyr Cove

The Whittell track team is prepping for its upcoming season with a roster almost as full as last year’s, despite some recent controversy surrounding its coaching staff.

Last season the girls’ team was coached by Jeremy Smith and the boys’ team was coached by Brian Rippet, who was dismissed earlier this year for inappropriately funneling money into a personal account used for team expenses. Rippet was a popular coach with the kids and some Warriors’ varsity athletes expressed reservations about competing in track at the school this year.

However, Smith, who is now coaching both boys and girls, said this season’s numbers are almost as high as last year and morale seems high.

“I think we will get a little more depth from the ski team, which is still in season right now,” Smith said. “Some of the older kids have not come out because of (Rippet’s dismissal), but the younger ones have really stepped up to the plate and come out. We’re at 25 this year and we had around 30 last year, so it’s not really much of a drop.”

Smith said the team will welcome some returning varsity athletes, including seniors Kim McGlothlin, a distance runner, and Brian Beebe who competes in the 800-meter dash and triple jump.

McGlothlin said with only three seniors and two juniors on the roster this year, the team will rely heavily on youth.

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“The team is really young with a majority of freshmen,” McGlothlin said. “I think we will have a strong team. (Coach Smith) knows what he’s talking about and right now we’re all working with him to figure out his coaching strategies. I’m excited for the season.”

Senior Jarret Guajardo is also returning as a distance runner, as is junior Oscar Suarez who also runs distance.

Lost to graduation from last year’s team are Ben Johnson and Chad Gerken, the top two distance runners.

“We do have some big returners and a great group of freshman girls coming in that placed well in several meets in the eighth grade,” he said. “I think they are going to do really well this year.”

Those freshmen are sprinters: Casey Brumbach, Mari Johnson, Katrina Kacirek, Jayme Lowe and Tara Scaduto.

“We have a small group of leaders for the team because we’re a small team with about half freshmen/sophomores,” Smith said. “I’m extremely excited and I think it will be a great season.”

2003 Schedule:

3/8 at Hawthorne 9 a.m.

3/15 Douglas (at Carson) 9 a.m.

3/22 Churchill Co. (at Fallon) TBA

3/28-29 at Sparks 4 p.m./9 a.m.

4/5 at Yerington 9 a.m.

4/12 at Carson 9 a.m.

4/19 Smith Valley (at Yer.) 9 a.m.

4/26 Open Open

5/3 at Independence 9 a.m.

5/10 Zone-Lowry (at Winn.) TBA

5/17 State (at Las Vegas) TBA