Carson High track looks to start strong, finish strong
It sounds simple but Carson High track coach Steve Nelms is preaching to his athletes to start strong, finish strong.
CHS will have that chance to get off to a strong start when it opens the season with a meet against Manogue, Damonte Ranch and Reno High at Reno High on Saturday.
And eventually the Senators obviously hope to have a strong finishing kick which leads to as many athletes as possible qualifying for the State Championships.
The CHS boys and girls track program has a large contingent this year with 120 participants. “We’re a fairly young team,” Nelms said.
But Carson also has a number of returning athletes who should have a chance to qualify for state. Of course the leader of that contingent is senior Abby Pradere, the defending state champion in the girls 800 and 1,600, who has signed to run for the University of San Francisco.
“She’s looking pretty strong right now,” Nelms said. “As as practice goes she’s looking very strong.”
Along with the 800 and 1,600, Pradere should also run in the 4×400 relay when it comes to qualifying for state. It should be a while before Pradere’s fourth event when it comes to qualifying for state will be determined.
Pradere could run in another open event or could eventually take on a grueling four-event test of the 800, 1,600, 4×400 relay and 4×800 relay. “As a season goes on, we’ll have an idea,” said Nelms about how best to use Pradere when it comes to her scoring the most points for herself and the team. “We’re going to see how this plays out. We’ll have to see how the numbers look.”
Two other top returning athletes for Carson’s girls are Ashley Britt and Annika Wick. Britt will again run the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. She nearly qualified for state in the 300 hurdles last year.
Wick can run the 100, 200 and 400 and ran a 28.98 in the 200 at the Simplot Games, an indoor meet held in Febraury in Pocatello, Idaho. Britt and Wick are also strong candidates to run the 4×400 for CHS, which should have a strong chance of qualifying for state. Britt and Wick could also be used in the 4×200 relay as well.
“She had a great off season,” said Nelms about Wick. “I’ve got pretty high hopes for her.”
CHS had 30 athletes compete at the Simplot Games, which included athletes from all over the country and New Zealand and Australia. “It’s a huge meet,” said Nelms about the meet in which national records were set.
One of the biggest highlights of the meet for CHS came when transfer student Merce Tarrayo fnished eighth in the shot put with a throw of 36 feet, 7 1/4 inches. “We’ve got some pretty big expectations for her,” Nelms said.
Another highlight came when Ben Granados, who advanced to state last year for CHS, finished 22nd in the 200 in 23.83. “He had a great off season as well,” Nelms said. “He has worked pretty hard. We’re excited for him.”
The Carson boys will also feature the top three runners who led CHS to the Northern 4A cross country title this past fall in Hunter Rauh, Evan Byasse and Zach Sever. Rauh returns in the 800 where he nearly qualified for state last year. “We’re expecting him to come in pretty strong and have a very strong finish,” said Nelms about Rauh.
“They’re working extremely hard,” said Nelms about Rauh, Byasse and Sever. “They should have a great start and a great finish to the season.”
Granados, Rauh, Byasse and Sever will also obviously be among the leaders on the CHS relay teams.
Other top athletes to watch include Damon Jennings in the boys jumps and Erica Basa in the girls long jump and triple jump. Taryn Encinas is another top athlete in the girls high jump. “Overall just a great athlete,” Nelms said. “She could make quite a run in the high jump this season.”
And there’s freshman Kai Miller who cleared 11-2 and just missed clearing 11-6 at Reno’s Pole Vault Summit. “He’s going to be a great vaulter,” Nelms said.