PHS spring sports preview: PHS boys track team thin in numbers but strong in leadership

by Mark Cheffey

The PHS boys track and field team is short on numbers but is hoping to reboot following a lost season.

“We’re missing a few pieces, so we’re just going to focus on getting better every day and, hopefully by districts and sectionals we’ll be able to get some good times in,” said Coach Shannon Haerr, who has 21 out this year.

The lower number means a lack of depth and also leaves the team thin in pole vaulting and hurdles.

“But, hopefully, we can get some guys to step up and improve during the year and be alright.”

On the positive side, the team has some veteran, athletic leadership, starting with Abe Haerr, a senior, who will anchor the middle distance events after earning state medals as a member of the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relay teams as a sophomore.

“That’s always been a strong place for us, and, hopefully, we’ll fill that with some young guys,” Coach Haerr said, noting the addition of junior, Caleb Juette, sophomore, Connor Bross, and freshman, Carson Hicks.

“He’s a really strong runner,” Haerr said of Hicks. “He’s young, and hopefully will come on and join our 800 group.”

Throwing events should also be a plus led by seniors Josh Lickfield and Weston King, who is recovering from a football injury.

“He’ll be ready in a few weeks,” Coach Haerr said of King who fell just short of qualifying for state in the discus as a sophomore.

“He’ll be a slow starter, but he’ll be ready to go once we get into the season a little ways,” Haerr said.

Lickfeld will also help lead the sprinters.

“He’s a big guy, but he can move pretty well,” Haerr said. “We’re also hoping we’ll fill that with some young guys.” 

Filling out the squad are Elijah Singh, a senior, juniors, Christian Johnson, Noah Getz, Jayden Sharrow, Dakota Snyder and Luke Triplett, sophomores, Dylan Jagger, Jackson Janes, Jose Juarez and Hayes Miller, and freshmen, Gage Barnett, Gideon Bogue, Talon Markley and Daniel Reid.

It was about this time last year when track season came to a halt with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It changed everything,” Haerr said, remembering the team had only had a few practices in when ended.

A year later, it’s like the year never existed.

“I even forget that we didn’t have a season last year,” Haerr said. “I’ll be talking about last season and realize I haven’t done this for two years.”

Haerr is hopeful the missed season will have a minimal affect.

“Our stronger athletes play more than one sport, so they are in shape from that,” Haerr said. “We also have some good cross country, and that should help us with distance, so I think we are going to be okay there.

“Just like everything, nobody has been through something like this, and it’s been interesting to go through, but overall, we’re thankful to be out here.”

Haerr said he notices some excitement among the athletes who are finally getting to train on the new track.

“You can’t walk out on this facility and not be excited to be out here,” Haerr said.

Haerr is getting coaching assistance this spring from Macy Bross, Nick Mudd, Darin Redd and Mark Lickfeld.

2021 PHS Track 

& Field Schedule

3/22 at Winfield Invite.  4 p.m.

3/26 Palmyra           4 p.m.

3/29 at QHS                4 p.m.

4/1 at MC Invite.    4 p.m.

4/6 at C.C. Invite    3 p.m.

4/8 Palmyra     4 p.m.

4/13 at High. Relays 3 p.m.

4/17 at Jeff. City       10 a.m.

4/23 at Brookfield   10 a.m.

4/27 at Macon         2:30 p.m.

4/30 at Han. Relays     3:30 p.m.

5/4 at C.C.            3:30 p.m.