A strong spring a year ago was potentially just the sign of things to come for the Barbers Hill boys and girls track teams.
The girls won the District 21-5A crown under, now, 10th-year head coach Stacy Tucker while the boys and Ray White finished second.
The Eagles start Feb. 14 in Nederland.
The boys qualified eight to the Region 3 meet as Sebastian Garcia and Ethan Engressei in pole vault came just short of a state spot.
“Both had strong finishes last year,” White, who begins his eighth year in charge, aid. “Sebastian Just missed qualifying for the state meet even though he was vaulting with slight injury. Canden Grogan also is one of our best all-around track athletes. He will be competing in five events -long jump, triple jump, and various running events - throughout the year.”
Gabe Villanueva, Daniel Armenta, Mykell Coleman, Zach Ferrigno, Gavin Broadway and Josh King- have also all shown promise of contributions this year.
Newcomers who should have a good year are Henry Clay in the 400 and sprints, Colin Frye in the 800 and sprints, Brayden Sledge in the hurdles, Hayden Pfitzner will help in the sprints and Josh Kinder is a senior who is expected to do well in the sprints and jumps, according to White.
“We are looking good as a team but are very young this year,” White said. “This is a very competitive hard working group and they continue to improve every week in workouts. That is our biggest strength. Our weakness in depth in some areas. Some would say our youth is a weakness, but I believe it to be one of our strengths. This team is enthusiastic and determined to have a great season.”
Tucker returns a load of talent from last season which ended as a team with a second-place spot at the area meet.
Top returners include, Jessica De La Fuente and Alexis Galaviz (distance), Alliece Semien, Alyssa Thomas and Rachel Young (throws), Mykia Coleman, Hannah Dixon, Jaden Montoya, Ashlynn Taylor (hurdles), Noel Smith, Tajah’ Ana Shinette, Fre’ Daiza Tucker (sprints), Alexa Gayden and Meagan Mayfield (jumps) and Grace Mathis (middle distance).
“Jessica finished cross country season as my top finisher at regional and has looked very strong in preseason workouts,” Tucker said. “Alyssa threw the discus at the regional meet last year and has shown lots of improvement over the summer. -All four hurdlers advanced out of district last year in at least one distance and have great chances to drop their times this season.”
Top newcomers include Makayla Johnson and Christina Vasquez (distance), Jacie Meredith (sprints), Dalanna Carter (jumps) and Kaci Andrus (pole vault).
“This team has goals of defending their 21-5A title and capturing an area championship, as well,” Tucker said. “They want to qualify as many people as possible for the regional meet and hope to send some competitors to the state track meet after a couple years absence. We have a small but experienced group of upperclassmen who will lead the way, as well as lots of young athletes with exciting potential.”