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Casey track coach Matt Willoughby’s team of girls has taken a hit even before the season starts as senior Nicole Coffman went down in the basketball post-season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
But just like basketball coach Randy Salyers and the Lady Rebs of the hardwood, Willoughby isn’t going to let that stop him.
“Nicole’s loss is obviously going to hurt and we’ll have to do some adjusting,” Willoughby said of his four-time state qualifier. “We have several girls returning this year that went to state last year, so that will help, and that’s what I’ve told the other girls. Without Nicole we still have a shot at state but everyone else has to step up like I know they can.”
One concern Willoughby has is that participation for the girls’ team will suffer with the loss of Coffman, since she helped draw others. But he needn’t worry if she has anything to say about it.
“I’ve talked to several of the girls and I plan to talk to them some more,” Coffman said. “I told them me being out shouldn’t stop them from joining the team. Plus I plan to still be around practice and attend some of the meets.”
Willoughby will lean on senior B.J. Hogue for the girls. Hogue has state experience as she qualified in discus last year. Other state qualifiers coming back are Shauna Wardrip, discus; Nicole Nagy, pole vault; and Laura Parris, Kaitlyn Carmicle and Aubrey Buis, 4x200 relay.
Newcomers such as Shelby Stringer, Jasmine Johnson and Lakken Miller are also expected to build the points that are key to the team going on to state.
Boys’ events are expected to remain strong with returning state champ pole vaulter Jordan Ellison leading the way.
Other boys’ state qualifiers returning are Micah Smith in the high jump; Joe Lee, who participated in four running events; and Cody Roy, discus.
The season gets under way on March 24 with an all-comers meet at Green County.
Willoughby is assisted this year by Amanda Hatter, Karin Weddle and volunteers Rex Rader, Chris Arthur and Dave Smith.
CCHS Track & Field