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Lady Eagles track tries to build foundation for program

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
With several of his squad's members out for track for the first time, it is safe to say the lineup W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles coach Shane Smothers is using now will be much different at the end of the season.
"We've got 15 girls out, which is a pretty good turnout for us," Smothers said. "A lot of these girls have never done track before. We'll probably move a lot of the girls around all season until we can find the right position for them."
One nice thing about W.S. Neal's turnout is there is good representation in most of the classes. The roster contains five seniors and five juniors. The numbers are not quite as good at the younger levels with just one sophomore and four freshmen.
"A big thing we want to do this season is develop interest in the program, not just from within but from outside as well," Smothers said.
W.S. Neal is starting the season with the combination of seniors Timiya Nolan and Abbie Howard, junior Lindsey Shultz and sophomore Brittani Moton in the throws.
"Timiya is our most experienced thrower so we're hoping she will lead us there. The others are all inexperienced, but they've been working at improving," Smothers said.
W.S. Neal is even less experienced in the jumping events of high, long and triple.
"Right now we've got (junior) Rhonda Bradley and (freshman) Tiara Matthews working out in the long jump, but neither has ever done it before. We're still trying to find people for the other jumping events," Smothers said.
The Lady Blue Eagles will use senior Tikeria Matthews, Tiara Matthews, senior Candice Gulley, freshman Jamica Thomas and senior Anitra Elliot for the sprints.
"We could have a pretty decent group of sprinters. Tikeria and Tiara have both shown some promise early in the season," Smothers said.
In the middle distance, W.S. Neal will use junior Brittany Tagudar and junior Denise Maddox.
"We'll give them a try for races like our 400 and 800 meters," Smothers said.
Distance may be one of W.S Neal's better events. Freshman Tierra Andrews was a state qualifier last year in the 1600 meters as an eighth grader. Freshman Katelin Hulley will also get a look for the long running events.
"With Tierra being a state qualifier last year, we're certainly hoping she can build off that and get back there this season," Smothers said.
W.S. Neal did not have any people in the hurdles last year. While that area is still vacant right now Smothers hopes to be able to fill some spots before the season is over.
"I'm challenging some of the girls to give it a try," Smothers said. "It's important that we fill as many of the events as we can."
W.S. Neal Track Schedule
Apr. 1 Monroe County Away 3:30 p.m.
Apr. 13 Monroe County Away 3:30 p.m.
Apr. 15 T.R. Miller Away 3:30 pm.
Apr. 22 Sectional at T.R. Miller
Apr. 30-May 1 State Meet