Young runners lead way for Coppell track
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By George Fairchild
Coppell track and field appears to entering a golden age, as the current freshman class has already proved themselves capable of competing with some of the best runners, throwers and jumpers in the area at the varsity level. Nine freshmen have represented Coppell this season competing on the varsity track and field team.
“They all have very bright futures ahead of them,” Senior distance runner Carson Vickroy said. “There’s a good chance they will be competing for a state championship by their senior year.”
Freshmen Alan Huo, Nathan Sims, Zach Dicken, Lauren Cunningham, Tara Adhikari, Taylor Dubey, Blake Vonzurmuehlen, Claire Barden and Ashley Scrivner have all competed at the varsity level this season.
“I’m very impressed with this freshman class,” Coppell men’s track and field coach Karl Pointer said. “This is the best group that we’ve had come through and the largest participation out of any freshmen class.”
Huo, who runs the 800 meter dash, 400 meter dash and anchors the 4×400 relay, has not only run on varsity every
race this season but has clocked some astonishing times. His personal best of 2:03 in the 800-meter dash places him as the 16th fastest freshman in the nation and the sixth fastest freshman in the state, according to tx.milesplit.com. Huo has also run 52.00 seconds in the open 400.
“Varsity track has been a great experience. It’s really challenging for a freshman so I am glad to have the opportunity to run varsity and I’m hoping later on in the future to keep on improving and become a top tier runner,” Huo said. “Running varsity has helped me develop good racing skills and has helped to figure out what I need to improve on to become a top runner in the future.”
Another strong 800-meter runner is Adhikari, who has run 2:36 as well as a 6:11 in the 1,600 meter run.
“On both sides, they are very talented and have strong work ethic,” said Coppell women’s coach Roxanne Farris. “This will help us in the next upcoming years as we will lose some big point getters this year.”
Huo’s teammate Dicken has run the 4×400 meter relay and 400-meter dash as well as the open 200 and triple jump. Dicken’s fastest 400 time of 51.72 seconds ranks him 10th in the state for freshmen. Dicken has also run 23.38 seconds in the 200-meter dash. His mark of 40 feet 10.25 inches in triple jump makes him one of the top one hundred freshman jumpers in the event in the nation.
“Running varsity was scary when I first started because when a freshman goes into a race against seniors you don’t usually expect to do well competitively,” Dicken said. “It has helped me realize what I need to work harder on to eventually make it to the state meet.”
Vonzurmuehlen has also ran the 400 and long jump. His long jump of 19 feet, 7 inches ranks him as one of the top 25 freshmen long jumpers in the state while his 400-meter time of 55.85 seconds ranks him in the top 100
Claire Barden is the only freshman on the girls side to compete on varsity for field events, throwing shot put. Her personal best of 34 feet, 8 inches ranks her as the 6th best freshman girl at the event in the state and in the top 50 best freshman girls in the nation.
“It’s a high level of competition and being able to compete at this level makes me a better thrower,” Barden said, “Hopefully I can continue to improve and break the school record by my senior year.”
Sims, Dubey and Scrivner have all run on the varsity 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter distance teams. Sims, the only freshman boy to have competed at the varsity level in either event this season, has run impressive times of 4:47 in the 1,600 and 10:18 in the 3,200. Sims is ranked in the top 100 freshman runners in the nation in the 3,200.
“If they continue to get better at the same rate over the next three years, there is a strong possibility at least one of them will qualify for the regional finals and possibly the state track Meet,” Farris said.
On the girls side, Dubey and Scrivner have both been racing well this season. Scrivner has run 12:35 and Dubey has run 12:29 in the 3,200-meter. In the mile, Dubey has also run an impressive time of 5:40.
“Competing on varsity has really helped me become a better runner and come into the high school and blend in with the others,” Dubey said. “Everyone on varsity has really helped me get better and keep improving.”
Cunningham is the only female sprinter out of the freshmen to make the varsity team. This season she has run 26.91 seconds in the 200, good enough for the 34th fastest freshman in the state for that event.
“As a track coach, I’m looking at it and that means we’ve got great athletes coming up in the next three or four years,” Pointer said, “I’m excited about it to see as many freshman doing as well as they are right now.”