Carson coach looks to write history

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In his first year as Carson High School's head coach, Todd Ackerman would like to write some Senator track and field history.

First and foremost, he'd like to qualify enough Senator athletes to the 4A state meet, set for May 19-20 at Reed, to give the Carson boys and girls a shot at making some school history and capturing a state title. The Carson boys haven't won the championship since 1952 and the Senator girls last won the title in 1987.

In addition, Ackerman also wants to literally write some history this season, which starts Saturday with a meet against South Tahoe at 9 a.m., by compiling an all-time list of Carson athletes who have won individual state track and field titles. Nevada has held a boys state track meet since 1921; the girls state meet dates back to 1973.

"For anybody who was or knows a state champion, we're trying to get all of the names, years and events," said Ackerman, who requested people call him with the information.

Although it's his first year as the head coach, Ackerman is very familiar with the Senator track program, as he's served as an assistant for five season. Last season, Ackerman was the Carson hurdles coach and guided Dave Krueger to his second straight state 110-meter hurdle title in a school record 14.25 seconds. Ackerman replaces Jeff Evans, who stepped aside this season in order to spend more time with his family and fishing boat.

Now in his sixth year of teaching at Carson, Ackerman previously coached prep football, basketball and baseball at Pershing County. He is a graduate of Western Montana College.

Although his prize pupil Krueger is now playing football at Utah State, Ackerman inherits a team with several individuals capable of joining Krueger - the only Senator to win a state title in '99 - on the all-time state champions list. Those individuals include:

n Amy Sanchez - Sanchez, a senior sprinter, rejoins the track team this season after playing varsity softball in '99. She is the school record holder in the 100 with her '98 time of 12.2.

- Carrie Powell - Powell reached the state final in the 100 meters as a freshman and placed sixth. Although she is currently battling an injury, a healthy Powell combined with Sanchez gives the Senators the top 100-meter duo in the North and potentially one of the best sprint relay teams.

- Josh Carter - Carter, a senior thrower, was fifth in the discus in '99. Ackerman anticipates Carter throwing 51 feet in the shot and 150 feet or more in the discus.

"First, I'd like to get back there (to state), then win it," Carter said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to get some points in the throwing part of the meet."

- Shanna Sparks - Sparks, a freshman distance runner, won the Northern 4A Zone cross-country championship last fall and she promises to be just as successful on the track in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events. She will also run the 800 meters and 3,200-meter relay at times this season.

Of course, to win a state track title she will probably have to defeat Abby Miller, Green Valley's legendary distance runner who won last year's 3,200 meter final in 10:52.59 and has won four consecutive state cross country titles.

- Caitlin Prunty - Prunty, a senior middle distance runner, was denied a trip to state last year on a controversial disqualification. She should be in the hunt for an 800-meter state title this year and she'll also run on the 3,200-meter relay team.

Ackerman said there are a host of other Senator athletes who could emerge as state finalists, including: Jen Saunders (long jump), Caylen Dakin (hurdles, triple jump), Doug Brooks (sprints), Jamie Calvo (sprints), Jordan Payette (sprints), Darryl Nourse (1,600 and 3,200), Heather Laaker (throws), Mackenzie Taylor (throws) and Megan Reeder (throws).

As for stripping Durango (boys) and Reed (girls) of their state track team championships, Ackerman said it will come down - as usual - to whether Carson has enough depth in each event.

"We have good kids, but I don't know if we have enough in each event," Ackerman said. "That's what's going to determine state. Teams like Reed and Reno have just about every event covered. They've got a least one good person in each event, except for Reed in the distance races.

"We should dominate the distance races, especially in the girls events."

Notes: Saturday's meet is at Carson High but is hosted by South Tahoe Carson's coaching staff this season includes Joe Girdner (pole vault), Brandi Graham (jumps), Vicky Colbert (sprints), Gary Helseth (boys throws), Charles Shirley (girls throws), Bret Scoggins (high jump) and Jason Macy (distance) One athlete to keep an eye on during Saturday's meet is Viking sprinter Jake Hurwitz, the returning zone champ at 100 meters.


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