By Carey Phillips

 

Smoky Mountain’s men’s and women’s track teams will open their seasons Tuesday at Owen.

Megan Dezarn returns as coach of the women, and Matt Kiefer has taken over as coach of the men.

“Practice has been good so far even though the weather has done its best to try to keep us at bay,” Dezarn said.

The roster was not set at press time. She said there were around 30 out for both teams the first day of practice and a few more the second day. Others are expected to join the teams after basketball season ends.

Seniors Becky Pechmann and Lucy McRae return for the women after running on relay teams in last year’s state meet. Pechmann earned all-conference honors after her 3,200-meter relay team won the Mountain Six Conference Meet last year.

Other top returnees for the Lady Mustangs include senior runner Karis Borchelt, senior thrower Samantha Long, junior thrower Callie Ashe and sophomore sprinter/hurdler Chloe Brown.

Senior distance runner Tyler Watterson returns for the men after placing in four events in last year’s league meet.

Other key returnees include senior thrower Manuel Herevia, junior sprinter Daniel Melton, junior runners Mitchell Russotti and Dalton Rogers and sophomore runner Ben Saunooke.

Jimmy Ashe will be assistant coach for the men, and Tammy Kim will be assistant coach for the women.

“I’m excited,” Dezarn said. “I think we’ve got a lot of new talent that is eager to learn and work. I’ll be looking to see how that eagerness translates into an actual meet setting. That will give us something to work from for the following meets.”

The schedule is as follows:

March 3 – at Owen; 18 – Franklin at Western Carolina; 25 – at Cherokee; 31 – at East Henderson.

April 2 – at Owen; 8 – Franklin at WCU or at Murphy; 22 – Swain at Cherokee; 29 – Mountain Six Conference Meet at Brevard.