The Wildcats track and field teams enter into the 2013 season coming off a relatively down year for the El Dorado program.
Last season the El Dorado Wildcats boys finished 6th in league and the girls 5th overall with both teams finishing 14th at regionals and the Lady Wildcats coming in 44th at state and boys at 46th.
“We were a very young team that showed significant improvement throughout the year, but not to a level that allowed us to compete very successfully at the varsity level,” said El Dorado head coach Gary Melcher.
Melcher is entering his 30th season as head coach of the Wildcat boys and 22nd as head coach of the girls.
Although the Wildcats had an off year when it came to team achievement, the Wildcats had a 42 percent personal record ratio on the girls’ side and a 46 percent personal record ratio on the boys side.
Because the Wildcats took their lumps last season as a young and inexperienced squad, this year shows promise from the lessons learned at the varstiy level.
“Overall, we should be significantly stronger in terms of scoring, as a majority of our squad were underclassmen,” said Melcher.
El Dorado returns 5 state qualifiers in Kelcie Gregg who finished 10th overall in her first state competition in Pole Vault. Travis House, Sam Haines, Charlie Kellogg and Donovan Whitfield all return from the Wildcat 4x800 team that finished 16th best in the state last season.
In all, the Wildcats have 17 returning letter winners from last season to form a solid base for this year’s team. Returning letter winners include: Lakyn Anders (Jr.), Tara Fisher (So.), Tori Gricol (Jr.), Matt Harvey (Jr.), Kelsee Howell (Sr.), Garrett Howland (So.), Isaac Johnson (Jr.), Jake Leckliter (So.), Kaleigh Parscal (Sr.), Hanna Rowell (So.), Katy Swan (So.) and Breck Towner (So.).
The Wildcats should get some help from their incoming freshmen, especially on the girls side this season.
“I would hope that all of the returning letter winners will continue to progress and become more competitive at the varsity level. Newcomers that could make some noise for us this season are Justice Rice and Destiny Smith both on the girls side. I’m hopeful that our numbers will continue to grow on the boys side,” said Melcher.
Since 1979 the El Dorado track and field teams boys and girls have had an average state meet finish of 3rd overall. This could be familiar territory for the Wildcats this season with the veteran team that will take to their marks and compete in the field.
“I believe all the letter winners will be fine, as they all competed at the varsity level last year. We don’t have a lot of senior letter winners back from last season, as that class has never been strong in numbers. There are some talented athletes in that class though that we will expect to lead the way,” said Melcher.