Run Elder run!

With the season nearing the half-way point the Elder Track and Field team has been in full stride for a while now. Although the season started as late as it possibly could and is shorter than usual the team has wasted no time jumping ahead. “We are doing as well as we can with how short the season is. We have not had as much time to train as we would like, but we are running well,” said coach Flaherty Two leaders for the track team this year are distance co-captain Jake Fields and weight man captain Dylan Rolf. “I was really happy when I found out at parent night that I had been voted captain,” said Fields. “It means a lot to know that other kids on the team look up to me as a leader.” “I was excited too,” said Rolf. “After three years it felt great to be rewarded and to have the opportunity to lead my teammates.” Junior Joe Ratterman currently sits in first in the Southwest district in pole vaulting with a jump of 14 feet even. Joe is a returning athlete who made it to the Regional track meet last year as a sophomore. Jake Upton is also a returning junior who parti cipated in the Regional meet last year. In addition to these two, three of the four members of the 4×800 meter relay team, Seniors Jake Fields, Jeremy Reiskamp, and Kevin Laiveling, return from last year. With experience like this mixed with a wave of new top athletes Coach Flaherty is optimistic about the post season. “We are in the hunt for the GCL title, and we still have some guys that have not yet peaked,” said Flaherty. Though usually overlooked, the weight men are having a good season of their own. “We’ve been doing really well as of late,” said Rolf. “The beginning of the season was a little rocky but we’ve improved and some of the younger guys have started to step up.” A good sign of this team’s potential could be seen at the past home meet, the Rally’s Invitational. In the long tenure of this meet, Elder has never lost and no one wants to be a part of the team that is the first. This year the team squared off against a strong Oak Hills squad and Coach Flaherty admitted that even he was nervous all week leading into the meet. However, this was not to be the year that Elder would lose. “I was very impressed with our performance, we had guys step up and come up big for the team,” Flaherty said as he reflected on the meet. Although Elder had several first place victories in multiple events, the team’s success can largely be credited to “back points” as Flaherty calls them. These back points come when a team has plenty high place finishes that are not quite first place. “We should perform pretty well in the postseason. We have a lot of guys like Ratterman, Upton, Rieskamp and Lavieling with experience at the Regional level from last year. So hopefully we will be able to utilize this experience to have the best postseason possible,” said Fields. With the Rally’s Invitational as a good measuring stick as to where the team currently stands, the Panthers look forward to the post season. The GCL meet is on May 17 th and will be held at La Salle. After that the team hopes to qualify as many athletes to the Regional meet as possible from the District meet. Hopefully they can send a few athletes to the State Meet up in Columbus on June 8 th.