Ocean City Today
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Decatur track teams should be stronger in field events

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Mar 22, 2018
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli Stephen Decatur sophomore Caela Berrie will compete in the high jump, triple jump and some running events this year. She qualified for states last year in the high jump. She hopes to top her PR of 4 feet 10 inches this season.

(March 23, 2018) Compared to indoor track, which wrapped up at the end of February, the Stephen Decatur girls’ and boys’ outdoor track teams should be better in the field events and have more depth overall, according to Stephen Decatur Coach Jody Stigler.

“It will be a different dynamic,” he said. “I definitely expect more production from the field events than indoor.”

About 45 boys and 45 girls will be competing for Decatur during the outdoor track and field spring season. Approximately half of them have participated in cross country, indoor and/or outdoor track, while the other athletes are new to the sport.

“We’re kind of young,” Stigler said. “We’re not senior heavy.”

With so many athletes training in a variety of events, Stigler will count on the veterans to work with the new participants.

Senior Tah’Jeem Woodland won a Bayside Conference championship and 3A East Region title in the 400-meter dash last year, his first season as a member of the Decatur team. He finished sixth overall during the state competition.

Woodland said he will be competing in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes again this season.

The 400 is his best event, he said.

“You really have to have a strategy,” Woodland said.

Run a fast pace in the beginning, pick it up, and finally, during the last 100 meters “give it all you’ve got,” he said.

He also ran a leg for the 1,600-meter relay team, which earned a Bayside Conference first-place award and recorded their best time (3:29.5) of the season during the state meet.

“I feel like we can repeat that,” he said. “Two seniors left, but I think we can have two others help.”

Woodland said he would like to win some Bayside Conference and regional awards, and place better at states this year. Woodland would also like to qualify for states in both the 200 and 400.

“I’m excited. I’m ready for the season,” he said. “The [boys’] team looks good, better than last year. We have more boys to contribute to score some more points for us.”

Stigler, now in his seventh season as head coach, said the boys’ squad has some decent sprinters and experience in the distance events.

There are veterans in the field events along with several new athletes who will contribute.

He will look to junior Chad Fischer (mid-distance, relays), who was a member of the successful 1,600-meter relay team last year, and senior Jack Reimer (distance), to help lead the boys’ team.

Stigler expects the girls’ team to be strong in the jumps – particularly the high jump – and pole vault. There are a few fast sprinters and some decent distance runners, Stigler said.

Sophomore Caela Berrie has returned and will compete in the high jump and triple jump, which she just learned last week, and some running events. Last year she ran in the 400-meter dash. She may also do some relay events this year.

Berrie qualified for states last year in the high jump.

“I was the only freshman and only girl to go to states [from Decatur] last year, so that was kind of cool. It was really fun,” she said.

Berrie hopes to top her personal record of 4 feet 10 inches this season. She would like to jump 5 feet or higher. She also wants to go to states again.

Berrie is using her experience to assist her teammates.

“Since there’s not really a field coach, I’ve been helping the girls and trying to teach them how to do high jump with a proper form and technique and arch, because it’s kind of hard to grasp at first,” she said. “A lot of seniors last year helped me, so I’m just going to try to teach the other girls how to do it.”

Sophomore Bridget Buxbaum will also participate in some jumping events, sprints and relays.

“The team looks pretty good,” Berrie said. “We have some decent runners, especially for distance, some good pole vaulters and shot put too, so we’re all-around-the-board pretty good.”

The weather during preseason has hampered training time outside, but Stigler said he has seen improvement.

“So far, so good. The new kids seem to be picking up the technique. We have some newcomers who will help us,” he said. “A lot of kids used to be three-sport track athletes. Not so much anymore. Kids are playing other sports too now.”

Stigler said the goal is to get better every day and perform well during the invitational and championship meets.

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