Ocean City Today

Many new athletes join Decatur track teams this season

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Mar 16, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli Stephen Decatur senior Bethany Williams works on her jumps during Monday’s practice. She is a two-time Bayside Conference cham- pion in the triple jump.

(March 17, 2017) About 45 boys and 30 girls will be competing for Stephen 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.

“There’s a lot of new faces on both teams, but in particular the girls’ team. It’s the least amount of girls we’ve had since I started,” said sixth-year Coach Jody Stigler. “There are a few [female] returners who will help us. For the boys, there’s more returning and they know what to expect.”

Stigler said the coaching staff is trying to teach the new outdoor track participants the field events.

“There’s some girls we can count on like we have the last few years. Hopefully we can score a bunch of points in the field events. We’ll see after the first meet,” Stigler said. “The boys are more well-rounded. I think they can score points in almost every event – distance, sprints and field events.”

With only a couple weeks of practices and despite the weather hampering training, Stigler said he has seen progress.

“For many kids it’s a blank slate,” he said.

Top returners for the girls’ squad include seniors Bethany Williams (triple/long jump, sprints, relays), Peyton Dunham (distance) and Claire Billings (mid-distance, relays).

Williams, a four-year member of the team, won the triple jump Bayside Conference title the last two years.

“I’m excited for my last year of high school track. I’m hoping to go to states for long and triple jump,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of newcomers. We just need to get them more into the mindset of making sure to sprint if they’re doing a field event, and just working hard. Like I did during indoor, I’ll just try to lead by example and teach them different things they can improve on.”

After high school, she plans to compete in track for Salisbury University.

Veterans Stigler will count on to lead the boys’ team are seniors Wyatt Davy (relays, pole vault, high jump), who advanced to the state indoor track championship meet for the high jump last month, Cameron James (distance) and Avonte Purnell (sprints, relays).

“I think I’m a good role model for the boys on and off the track [and] in school as well,” James said. “I think we’re doing well. The weather hasn’t been the best and it’s been bitterly cold, but we’re making big improvements since the first day of practice.

“I’m really excited to see what our team has to offer,” he continued. “I’m working pretty hard and I’m ready to see what times I get.”

Stigler said he is looking for some newcomers to step up and do well in field events. If they can learn the events and be successful it will not only be beneficial this year, but in the future as well.

The goal is to improve each day and the results will take care of themselves, Stigler said.

“We’re looking for individual success, which will lead to team success,” he added.

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