Depth is key to Whittell’s success |

Depth is key to Whittell’s success

The Whittell High track team is deeper than it has been in recent years.

And with that depth, this weekend’s 2A zone meet in Yerington could be explosive for the Warriors.

Both the boys’ and girls’ squads have multiple chances to send athletes to the state meet next week in Las Vegas.

The best shot for the girls to capture a state title is the 4×800 relay team of Ally Van Deusen, Haley Shaw, Jackie Laurian and Jannette Bak.

The quartet has been burning up the track all season and stands a great chance of continuing their success Saturday.

The Warriors have been practicing at the Carson High track to improve their handoffs in the relays.

“There has been a big difference because you can’t be exact with the handoffs on dirt,” Warrior coach Brian Rippet said. “For the first time the kids are sprinting through their exchanges because of the lines and markers on the track.”

Individual members of the relay team have an opportunity to make it to Vegas in other events as well.

Laurian and Courtney Greenwood are currently fourth and fifth in the high jump, both clearing 4 feet, 6 inches.

“One can knock the other out, or they can both go,” Rippet said.

Another female trackster to have a shot in multiple events is Shellie Zaskoda, who has a time of 59 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles (good enough for fifth place) and is fifth in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump.

“The triple is probably her shot, but she’s capable of making it in all three,” Rippet said.

Rippet’s big gun on the boys’ side is senior Luke Forvilly. The three-sport star is one of the favorites to win it all in the 100-meter dash, 200 meters, 110 high hurdles and the long jump.

“He’s a big-meet guy, so I expect him to rise to the occasion,” Rippet said.

Forvilly is not a lone wolf for the Warriors, however, as Whittell has a plethora of other runners with legitimate shots at advancing to Las Vegas.

The 4×800 relay team of Ben Johnson, Casey Lee, Jarret Guajardo and Brian Beebee was only a single second off the state meet record a week ago.

“They have a real good base and are in great shape,” Rippet said. “But Independence has a team who is only about 15 seconds behind, so it should be a close race.”

Lee is also a contender for the high jump along with senior Joel Warnick. Both leapers are tied for the league lead but have tendency to get misses on their jumps.

“If it’s going to come down to misses, then that could hurt them,” Rippet said.

In other field events, Joey Ilk has vaulted himself into contention for the shot put and is coming off a phenomenal week.

Ben Johnson and Lee will also be running the 800 and the 4×200 relay. Joining Ben Johnson and Lee on the relay are Warnick and Matt Johnson.

But the wild card of meet will be Beebee, who along with the 4×800 relay, is slated for two other events – the 300 hurdles and the 2 mile.

“He just started the hurdles a couple of weeks ago and already has the fourth-best time in the state,” Rippet said.

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