|2014 COVINGTON BUCCS BOYS TRACK TEAM...
The expectations are at an all-time high for the Covington boys track team as it returns a roster loaded with talent and have added a large freshman class that will help dil the void left by a senior class that helped bring home three state medals a year ago.
"Last year we wasn't completely healthy and still won our league, our district and got third at regionals," said Covington coach Kyle Moore. "The goal this year is to stay healthy, have all of our horses peaking at the right time. If everything falls right we think we have great shot of winning districts and regionals and having several kids do well at state."
For Covington, it starts with the three-headed monster - Lane White, A.J. Ouellette and Dalton Bordelon - kids who have worked unbelievably hard over their high school athletic careers.
"You look at their bodies and you know they work very hard," said Moore. "Obviously, Dalton and A.J. are football players, but looking at Lane White, you'd think he was a football player too. All three of those kids put their time in."
After injuries cut their junior seasons short a year ago, White and Ouellette return stronger than ever.
White is fresh off an indoor state championship in the 400 meter dash in which he ran the 19th fastest time in the country with a 48.90, while Ouellette has added unbelievable strength - as evident by his 425 lb. bench press - to go along with his 4.41 speed in the 40-yard dash.
"They have the speed and strength to do just about anything," praised Moore. "Lane is already under 49 seconds (in the 400) and A.J. is A.J.. He's so strong we'll probably have him doing some throwing this year."
Bordelon, the final one-third of the three-headed monster, is Mr. Everything due to the fact that he can be used in so many ways to gain team points.
"Dalton is our workhorse," Moore said. "Obviously he'll run the hurdles, but we'll use him in a lot of our relay events."
Also returning is junior Ben Miller, who will team with Bordelon in the hurdles and compete in some relay events as well.
"Ben is another one that you look at and know he's been working," Moore said. "He's much bigger and stronger this year and I think that's going to help him."
Covington's distance runners will also make some noise in 2014, despite losing Dustin Fickert, who is now running at Akron University.
"Our distance guys have put in a lot of miles over the past year," said Moore. "We're going to see some big things from Alex Schilling and Nathan Dunn this year."
Covington will also be strong in the shot and discus with the return of sophomore Ian Fries and senior Tyler Henry, along with newcomer Robert Gengler and A.J. Ouellette taking to these events for the first time.
"We have some strong throwers, that's for sure," Moore said. "We're excited to see how they do in the Tipp Relays because that's going to give us an indication of just how good this group could be."
Covington's relay teams will have a new look with the losses of Ryan Craft, Troy Cron and Dustin Fickert, but Moore feels his team can challenge the school records in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
"Our speed this year is as good as I've seen it at Covington in a long time and we have more depth this year," he said. "We have six or seven kids we can throw into different relays and not miss a beat."
The key to Covington's success will be staying healthy and peaking at the right time.
"This year will be different because we won't always have kids run three or four events at every meet," Moore explained. "Our focus is to use the regular season to get prepared for the post season - to stay healthy and have our kids fresh for districts, regionals and state. This will also give us an opportunity to develop some of our younger kids, giving them a chance to compete as well."
With 30 kids on the team, Covington can do just that.