Track Coaches Preview Season

Paiton Rizzo

Mr. Rex and Mr. Fricko are very excited about this year’s track team. Many freshmen are joining the program, supporting the experienced sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The Bark solicited comments from  Coach Fricko and Rex to get their perspectives of 2019 season which begins Monday, March 25.

Mr. Fricko is very excited for this season to start:  “Obviously, with a new track, I’m excited as ever for our upcoming season. Not only do we have a core of upperclassmen returning, but also a crew of 30+ freshmen boys and girls that I think will make some waves. For the past two seasons, Rex and I have been working a little with our junior high kids. Comparable to other sports, track and field doesn’t always get noticed in the elementary schools, so being able to introduce it to them in the junior high, we’re really starting to see the benefits of it in our varsity programs.  I think we have some unbelievable young talent, and it’s a matter of finding the right events for them as the season progresses. 

I will not lose for the next four years. We are not going to lose.”

— Coach Fricko

“For the girls, I’m looking for another solid season. The girls recognize how close to a KSAC title we were last year and really have it in their sights for the season. Like the boys, we’re evenly spread covering all the events with a few key athletes in each event.  Leading the way will be our captains, Elisabeth Hook, Paiton Rizzo, and Elisabeth Robinson. We are expecting Hook and Rizzo to handle a majority of the workload in the sprints, jumps and the 4×100 team. Robinson will be shooting for a district qualifier in our distance events for sure. We also have some expectations for senior Hope Spence in the pole vault. Brooke Eberle will be joined by her sister Laney and another freshman Ryley Pago in the high jump. Carley Shick, Rhiannon Laughlin, and Emma Huffman will be returning to form the core of our 4×800 squad and will also round out the mid-distance races as well. Our three relays should all put up some good times, and I believe all three can be district contenders.

“In the throwing events, I am very excited to see what Taylor King can do in the discus as well as first-time thrower Lindsay Evans. I think they’ll both be D-9 qualifiers early in the season.  

“With two solid weeks of practice under our belts, I’ve been impressed with the work ethic and determination of the entire team this year and am looking forward to getting the season underway.”

The boys’ track team this year is stacked with amazing runners and throwers, according to Coach Rex. Rex says, We are obviously excited for this season, as we have a lot of great things happening.  We have a new track, new water drainage, a surfaced javelin runway, three jumping pits and a large high jump area.  With the great numbers in participation, we are now able to separate kids into events and have sufficient practice time for everyone.  There is a buzz between the athletes and coaching staff with this new facility.

“Our biggest strength this season would have to be the balance that we have as a team.  We are very strong in several events and pretty strong in the others. We don’t really have too many weak points at this early point of the season.  We have a great group of boys that are willing to do what is best for the team and that is important.


“On the track, you can expect to hear Keaton Kahle’s name a lot.  As he has done in the past, he should be the sprinter to beat in the

Keaton Kahle

conference and the district. I also believe Samuel Hetrick will be a close contender in the sprints as well.  Other notables at this early point are Javin Brentzel and freshman Joe Mansfield. Leading the way for the distance squad right now is Declan Fricko. We will have some help from Kyle Watkins and a committee of young runners.  In the jumps, all-state jumper Samuel Hetrick will be a force in the high jump and we expect him to dominate. Declan Fricko was on Hetrick’s footsteps in the high jump last year, and we expect the same this year. Javin Brentzel and Joe Mansfield will lead the way in the triple and long jumps.   The pole vault will be lead by Trenton Rupp. In the javelin, you can expect big throws from both Austin Rupp and Anthony Baileys. The discus and shot sut will showcase Anthony Baileys and Tanner Kerle. We are still looking at all of our relay teams to see what names will earn those spots, but we believe all three relays will be tough.  

“Again, a well balanced team gives us a great chance to contend for a KSAC title and that is main team goal this season.  We also want to get as many kids to Districts and States as we can, and our coaching staff is working very hard to achieve those goals.  Coaching this year is Megan Harmon (high jump/sprints), Billy Weaver (long/triple jump), Lynde Edmonds (javelin), Ron Wiser (pole vault), Jordan Popolis (hurdles), Mike Fricko (sprints/distance), Andy Rex (throws).”

Looking ahead, Coach Fricko does not feel that we will lose any meets in the KSAC. He says,”We should not lose any of our meets and every year we have been second place. This is my fourth year coaching, my first three years we have been second each year. I have four loses total. I lost once to Moniteau in my first year, Karns City and Clarion in my second year, Keystone last year. I will not lose for the next four years. We are not going to lose.” As a member of the girls’ track team, I will work to make Coach Fricko’s prediction right.