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Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — A solid group of returners, a number of upper classmen out for the first time, and a few talented freshmen have Athens boys track & field coach Mike Panek feeling good about the 2024 season.

“We are a more well-rounded team this year,” he said. “We have strengths in just about every event.  The league meet will be very competitive.

“We have many returning members who have improved from last year, and gained athletes who have never done track before who will be solid contributors,” noted Panek.

“I am proud of our boys; they work hard and are focused on success both individually and as a team,” he added.

Panek is also pleased with his numbers.

“Our numbers this year are strong, and there is a welcome showing of 11th- and 12th-graders who are out for the first time,” he said.

The Wildcats have a number of key returners, led by seniors Kelley Reid (100- and 200-meter dash), and Kaden Parrish (discus), juniors Peter Jones (200, long and triple jumps), James Friend (400-meter dash, and high jump), and Caleb Nason (javelin), and sophomore Brenden Comstock (shot put).

Panek also points out a handful of newcomers to keep an eye on in freshmen Graham Wanck, Lucas Persun, and Matt Rossettie (1600- and 3200-meter runs), senior Dash Bishop (800-meter run, and pole vault) and juniors Jase Babcock (high jump), and Sean Clare (800).

Panek believes he has a few athletes who could make a run at qualifying for States.

“Although it is very early to say, Kelley Reid, Jase Babcock, and Graham Wanck have potential to reach that level,” he said.

Almost always in the running for a league title, the Wildcats should be in the running for another league title this year.

“Williamson will most likely be the biggest competition for our team this year,” said Panek.

Athens, 2-0 on the season, returns to action today when it hosts Troy and Wyalusing.


IN PHOTO: Athens freshman Graham Wanck. … VSR STOCK PHOTO.

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