(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Led by a select few, such as seniors Terry Jamison and Betsy Borgsmiller, the Sikeston Bulldogs track team should be top-heavy when it comes to individual performers.
As far as the team goes, however, they may not have enough horses to make any noise at the state level.
"As a team, we not going to be near as strong as we have been the past three years," Sikeston track coach Terry Flannigan said. "But, we've got some individuals I think that are really going to step out and do well."
Leading that charge will be Betsy Borgsmiller, who is returning for her senior season as the defending Class 3 high jump champion.
Borgsmiller jumped a 5-5 at the state meet a season ago winning an individual state championship as well as breaking the school record previously set by Tina Collins at 5-4 in 1991.
Joining Borgsmiller will be fellow all-state jumper Jalen Peet. The senior finished eighth in the long jump last year with a distance of 33-11.5. Allisha Oglesby, who barely missed all-state honors in the long jump as well finished ninth last season with a jump of 33-9.
"Those girls went to state last year so we expect to see bright things from them," said Flannigan. "We've got Yolanda Johnson as well, who could be a good hurdler for us."
The girls side is plagued by a low turnout in numbers, which could mean less points as a team during meets and a drop off in relay success, which has been a strong point for the Lady Bulldogs in the past.
"We just don't have a lot of girls out," said Flannigan. "We won't have a lot of relays. We've got a lot of individuals, so we're just going to have to piece that together."
The individuals v. the team is exactly the same on the boys side as well.
A select few, such as Terry Jamison, Keldon Warfield, Nick Nichols and James Watson, are expected to lead the Bulldogs in the jump events as well as hurdles and some relays.
"We've got a few here and there," Flannigan said about the boys. "Right now, we've got two good legs on the relay we just have to find two more to fit in. It's going to be like that for us this year until we can find out who can do what."
Sikeston graduated a few of their heavy hitters last season in the form of all-state jumpers Trey Lewis and Darryl Howard.
Both Lewis and Howard ended their senior season by placing third and sixth in the long jump with jumps of 21-7 and 21-4.25 at the state meet, respectively.
In seasons prior, the Bulldogs have been strong in the jumps and relays which have been their bread and butter. Sikeston's 400-meter and 800-meter relay teams both qualified for the finals. This season, different runners, such as Jamison, might have to run on a few different relay teams to try and piece them together.
Flannigan may also have to look towards his abundance of newcomers to fill certain holes.
"We've got a bunch of young kids. That's what we are, we're young-dominated right now," Flannigan said. "We're going to find out here in the next week or so who can do what and try to put the pieces of the puzzles together to make us competitive."
Warfield, Nichols, Watson and Spensor Clark will hold down the hurdle events as well as run a few relays and individual running events as well.
Isaac Ingram and Michael Gipson are expected to give Sikeston their best chances in the throwing events.
Alan Lowe, a transfer from Kelly High School, as well as Zach Harrison will anchor the long distance events for the Bulldogs.
"If everything goes right, I think we can end up being competitive," Flannigan said. "But, we just don't have a bunch of all-out stallions like we've had. We've got a few here and there. Hopefully, some of our youth will grow up and make us competitive."
As a team, the Sikeston boys finished 10th with a total of 21 points last season at the state meet. The girls finished 18th.
"We're looking forward to a good season," said Flannigan. "We always work towards doing the little things and be competitive. We want to make our school and ourselves proud."