The 2019 Shippensburg high school boys track and field team has a chance to be the best in program history, challenging for numerous school records, postseason bids and consecutive Mid Penn Colonial Division titles.
The Greyhounds return a large portion of the athletes that helped them post a perfect 6-0 record in dual meets last season, and the team believes that they will have no trouble repeating that same feat this spring.
“We just want to win it all out. We are definitely stronger than we were last year,” noted junior hurdler Michael Reich.”
For Greyhound track coach Mike Sassin, the team’s biggest challenge inside the league will be to not rest on their laurels.
“We are not sneaking up and surprising anyone this year so we need to make sure we continue to work hard and stay focused the entire season,” Coach Sassin said.
There doesn’t appear to be a single hole anywhere in the Greyhound lineup. Reich is a Mid Penn qualifier in hurdles, who is very close to breaking the school's 110 meter hurdle record.
In sprints, junior Alex Sharrow is a district qualifier and current school record holder in the 100 meter dash. Half of the Greyhounds' 2017 4x100 school record relay is still on the team in the form of Sharrow and senior Adam Houser, and the 4x400 relay – which closed out 2018 strong with a pair freshmen – could also set a new school mark.
In jumps, junior Alex Doyle placed fourth at districts in the high jump and qualified for the state meet. He also has a chance make his mark on record book this season. Senior Kevin Suero is a district long jump medalist with a chance to qualify for the state meet and a shot to break the SASHS long jump and triple jump records.
In throws, junior Noah Foust is a Mid Penn qualifier in the discus who is within 10-feet of the school record already this season. The record Foust is shooting for – 159'7” – was set way back in 1977.
“I've been throwing all summer and winter, and I am ready to have some throws measured,” Foust said. “Right now my throws can get me into districts, I need to add on a few feet to get to states.”
Junior Nick Gustafson has the school's shot put record in his sights. He and junior Joshua Connor are also postseason contenders in the javelin.
The Hounds also have a handful of returning distance runners in Hayden Hunt, Dante LoTruglio, and others.
As for the girls team, they are also coming off an outstanding 2018 season.
They finished 5-1 in dual meets, with their only defeat coming at the hands of strong Boiling Springs team in the season opener. They have the majority of their team back, plus a strong group of newcomers, with a goal of challenging for a division crown.
“This is my last year and I am excited for the warm weather. I want to make this year my best year, have everybody work hard and come together as a team,” said senior sprinter Carlee Somerville. “Our long distance team looks amazing and they work really hard. Sprinters we've got a couple new people, but they are mainly returners; and our throwers are doing an outstanding job.”
“We are very young as half our girls are new to the sports and only 16 of the 60 are juniors and seniors,” noted Coach Sassin. “Everyone needs to work extremely hard to make that goal [of a division title] a reality.”
The Greyhounds open their dual meet schedule Thursday March 28 when they host the West Perry Mustangs at 3:45 p.m.