MOUNT VERNON — The Rams track and field team has already competed in a trio of indoor competitions this season.
Mount Vernon turns its focus to the outdoor meets next week at Salem.
“We’re not the same team we were last year,” Mount Vernon coach Clint Turner said. “That was a pretty good team obviously.”
The Rams lost several key contributors from a squad that pushed the program to historic heights. Last season Mount Vernon tied for second place overall at the 2A state finals, and ended with multiple all-state individuals.
Several athletes from that team also return to the squad this season.
“I think we’ve got a spread of a lot of events,” Turner said. “Last year was more of a field event-oriented thing with our top guys, pole vault and things like that.”
State champion Jacob Morrison highlights the returners. He won the long jump last season with a leap of 22 feet, 9.5 inches.
“He was late getting to the season just because of basketball, but one thing that’s good about basketball is it’s got your legs in jumping events ready to go,” Turner said. “Just all the work that you do as a basketball player, all the jumping and fast jumping that’s just natural good conditioning that you would try to do anyway if they weren’t playing basketball.”
Turner said his distance group has improved over the past year. One of those runners is Trey Mygatt. Brandon Ethridge and Caedmon Cook join him. Mygatt was a state finalist in the 800 meters the last two seasons, finishing 10th each time.
“(Mygatt’s) a little hungry,” Turner said. “I just don’t know if the 800 is the event for him. We’re going to try him in the mile. We’ll see, not that the 800’s not his event it is, but we’re just going to see. The mile may even be a better event for him.”
Another state qualifier back to the team is discus thrower Wyatt Pilson.
“He’s worked hard just to improve himself strength-wise since last May,” Turner said.
Anthony Lash is another returner and is currently in the state’s top 10 in the 60 and 200 meters. Fischer Davis and Jacari Virden are both back in the high jump.
Turner said the opening month of the season is devoted to trying to figure out where his athletes fit the best and also how many different events they can compete in at a high level.
“Last year we had a pretty good larger stable of sprinters to where I didn’t have to overwork guys,” Turner said. “I’m going to have to be careful as the head coach when we plan these meets that I’m not all in trying to win meets, but trying to do what’s best for the kid.”
The Rams start the outdoor season Thursday at the Salem Invitational.