2009 Track and Field Preview
Bluffton to rebuild under first year Head Coach Gary Labonte
By: Evan Miller, sports information assistant
January 26, 2009
This 2009 Bluffton track and field teams are under the direction of first-year head coach Gary Labonte and graduate assistant Thomas Smith. One thing that coach Labonte has noticed early on in his first campaign is the team's diligent work ethic as pre-season practices have focused largely on conditioning. Coach Labonte also stated that, "The team's overall attitude is focused on trying to improve for the good of the group, not just for individual results."
The 2009 squads have a balanced mix of new freshmen to go along with a number of returning upperclassmen with experience. Coach Labonte feels that the freshmen will bring excitement and energy to the team, while the older, more experienced members of the team will be able to help guide the newcomers in their first collegiate season.
This year the throwers will be counted on heavily to score points for Bluffton. Junior Jason Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) is one of the top returners on the men's side. Last year, Fisher broke the school record for the weight throw with a throw of 14.03 meters. Following the conference championships in 2007, Fisher was named the HCAC Freshman of the Year. Throwing for the women will be senior Karyn Davis (Liberty Center) who will also look to build on her success from last year. Adding depth in the field events for the women will be sophomore Kayla Pickering (Jamestown/Greenview), also a standout on the Bluffton volleyball team. She had a monster start to her collegiate career with a second place finish in the shot put at the Ohio Northern Friday Night Series 1 meet.
|The Beavers will also count on an experienced group to lead them in the distance events. For the men, junior Ben Siebert (Celina) will lead the way. Also running distance for the men will be senior Justin Derringer (Brookville) sophomore Brian Timpe (Swanton/Pike-Delta-York) and freshman Andrew Chaffee (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston). For the women, Sarah Binkley (Bluffton/Cory-Rawson) is back for her third year after a successful fall on the cross country team. Senior Deb Davis (Seneca, Penn./Christian Life Academy) will look to contribute to the Beavers as a senior who is in her first year on the team.|
|Senior Ashley Smith (Delta/Pike-Delta York) has been working in an attempt to better a pair of school records that she already holds. The sprinter holds the 500m school record of 1:24.24 which she set in 2007, as well as the 600m record of 1:48:52 which she established during the 2006 season. Junior Jenn Sandy (Defiance/Ayersville) will be running sprints in her first year on the team. Donelle Parker (Painsville/Thomas Hanty) will be participating in the sprints and jump events this year. Running sprints for the men's team is Robert Johnson (Columbus/Marion Franklin) who also plays on the pitch for Bluffton's soccer team. Along with Johnson, fellow soccer player Michael Timpe (Swanton), a sophomore, returns at sprints and high jump.|
In order for Bluffton to achieve success this track season, the Beavers will need to overcome their lack of depth, while continuing to focus on team-oriented goals and the development of a youthful squad. Both the men and women finished in fifth place at Ohio Northern University on January 16 while setting three school records. Bluffton is scheduled to open its outdoor slate on March 21 at the Dick Small Invite on the campus of Defiance College.