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Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — Longtime track & field coach John Stevens is looking to rebuild the Sayre program, and as he enters his second season with the Redskins he’s pleased with the progress.

“We’ve doubled our numbers from last year,” he said. “This is year two of a five-year build.

“Last year, the girls scored points at the league meet, which they didn’t do the year before,” noted Stevens. “We’re just looking to build on last year.

“We don’t have many seniors either, and we have a few good junior high athletes,” Stevens added.

Stevens, who started coaching at SRU in 1978, and went to Athens with the merger in the late ’80s, said the Redskins have a few athletes to keep an eye on.

“We had three kids go to Districts last year,” he said.

“Marco (Quires) medaled in the 100, and missed 8th-place in the 200 by .003 of a second,” noted Stevens. “David (Huang) finished 13 out of 26 in the shot put, and Rose (Shikanga) ran the 100- and 300-hurdles. They are all back.

“We also have a couple vaulters — Carter Bleiler and Aubri Husted … hopefully, as they improve, they should be able to place,” he added.

Stevens said the spring team will benefit from Sayre having an indoor track team again this winter.

“We had seven kids running indoors,” he said. “We only had three last year.

“Glenn (VanBenthuysen) and Hunter (Kimball) were running faster times during the indoor season than they did last spring.

“And, Rose (Shikanga) was caught between four and three steps (in the hurdles), but now she has the three-step down,” added Stevens. “During the last meet of the indoor season, she took the leap of faith and cut 6-tenths of a second off her time between the semis and the finals.”

Stevens said he’s adding to the team piece by piece.

“We actually have a 4-by-800 relay,” he said. “It’s the only relay we have, but it’s a start.

“We have a couple girls distance runners in Morgan Hickey and Isis Williams — both are newcomers,” added Stevens. “They aren’t sprinters, so we have them running something where they can contribute.”

Junior Dante Rubeck, a transfer from NEB, is a newcomer Stevens believes can contribute.

“With (Dante) and Marco, we might be able to go 1-2 in the sprints,” he said.

Stevens believes he has a few more newcomers who could contribute as well.

“We’re looking for senior Lizzy Shaw to run the 200 and 400, and do long and triple jumps,” he said. “Freshman Declan Barry has a lot of potential in the hurdles

“And, junior Nick Pellicano, a baseball player, will run with us when he can,” added Stevens. “He has a lot of potential in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump … maybe even the javelin.”

Sayre opens the 2024 season Tuesday at Athens.


IN PHOTO: Sayre’s Marco Quiros (left) and Rose Shikanga. … VSR STOCK PHOTOS.

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