Scottsbluff hopes to repeat strong finish
     2013-04-04      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
The Scottsbluff High School track team is hoping for another strong season after the boys won the Class B state title last year.

This year’s team has seven boys returning from the state team and four returners for the girl’s team.

“We have about 50 boys and 30 girls on the team this year,” said head coach Jim Barker. “That’s a pretty good nucleus to start the season.”

Ten boys and six girls return as letter winners for the Bearcats. They’ve also picked up on transfer students. Liz Cunningham from Mitchell was a state qualifier last season in the sprints and hurdles.

Scottsbluff’s first outing of 2013 was at the Chadron Indoor, but the team was smaller than usual because some members were in Lincoln for the state DECA event.

“We had a good day at Chadron, although we couldn’t get a good read on the team that early,” Barker said. “It’s more of a preseason practice event.”

The Bearcats feature several standouts this season. Senior Luke Worden returns as a sprinter. Last year, he finished second in the state in the 100 meter event and on the winning relay team. His relay teammate, Matthew D. Klein, also returns. Klein also runs the hurdles.

Barker added all members the 4x800 relay team that finished second at state are back this season. Seniors Tayler James and Justin Prichard also return as mid-distance runners. And John Maag returns as the team’s thrower.

Barker said one of the big-time additions to the team is Matthew Barraza, a sophomore who played soccer last year. He was the state champion in cross country this past season and is a distance runner.

“On the girls’ side, we’re better than last year based on the depth we have,” Barker said. “Their condition level is much greater than when we started a year ago. A lot of them have bought into running year round.”

Returners on the girls’ squad include Zoey Rada in the shot put event, Kiley Gureue in the sprints and Taylor Muncie in mile and two mile events. A big addition Barker pointed out was freshman Chesney Walker, last year’s middle school state champion in the hurdle events.

“All the coaches are really excited about our chances to do very well at the state meet,” Barker said.

Barker is joined by assistant coaches Shelby Aaberg, Mike Burda, Mike Fisher, Todd Menghini, Warren Osborn and Linda Meininger.

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