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Banner County track team ready to make tracks
March 20, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Courtesy Photo - Members of the 2014 Banner County track team include, front row from the left, Allysa Matthews, Maegan Coffman, Megan Gifford, Abby Russell, Taylor Evans, Ashlynne Hanan, Amanda Harrison, Danielle Flick: back row,Tyson Dahlgrin, Wyatt Nielsen, Brenton Soule, Ben Hostetler, Roby Fonseca, Cole Carey, Mike McKown and Cresencio Castillo.

HARRISBURG — Although the team is only 15 members strong, the Banner County Wildcats track team is hoping to be competitive in Class D-2 for the upcoming season.

“We’ll be competing in whatever events the kids are interested in,” said head coach Kari Gifford during the team’s first week of practice. “We have quite a few returning seniors from last year.”

Gifford said the team is showing a real desire to improve every day during practice and making sure they do what it takes to make that happen.

One of the returning seniors is Amanda Harrison, who Gifford coached her entire four years as the Wildcats’ lone cross country runner. Last year, she qualified for state in the 1600 and 3200 distance events.

Another returning state qualifier is Tyson Dahlgrin, who competed at state last year in the 110 and 300 hurdles events.

“Both of them want to get back to state again,” Gifford said. “Not only that, they want to move up in the placings and possibly pick up a medal.”

Other returners on the boys’ side include Mike McKown, who competed in the sprints last year. And Ben Hostetler also competed in the sprints and jumps.

Gifford said last year they weren’t competitive as far as team scores, mainly due to their small numbers, which makes it difficult for them to place high. With fewer numbers, not competing in all the events doesn’t give them the opportunity to score as many points.

“Regardless of where they start, I want them to show some level of improvement,” Gifford said. “And the bigger picture is that anyone who goes out for sports can improve their physical fitness and get stronger. That’s something we focus on as well.”

This is Gifford’s fourth year of coaching the track team at Banner County High School. Her assistant coaches include Sonja Lind, Bill Gifford and Chelsie Thurin.

Banner County opens its season at Kimball on Saturday, March 29. The time is still to be determined.
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