By Chris Chaney
As the 2013 track and field season starts to really get some legs, the Clermont Northeastern squad is feeling its way out and finding that despite only having 18 members, the Rockets have a pretty good group of athletes that could compete both locally as well as heading upstate.
“After the first couple of meets, we are experimenting a little bit to see who goes in which event,” head coach Pat Rexroat said. “The team is settling in nicely at this point. It looks like we have a handful of young men that will have a pretty good season with the sprints. The girls are primarily sprinters, also, so we’re a sprint-laden team at this point.”
The Rockets’ team consists of 12 boys and six girls. While the numbers are a detriment as far as scoring well in meets that feature larger teams, Rexroat believes that individual events in which CNE is strong will breed confidence that is necessary to make a run upstate.
Many of the individuals on both the boys’ and girls’ teams will compete in numerous events, but the strength of the squad will be in the various sprinting races.
“Our boys’ 4×100 and 4×200 look relatively strong at this point in the season,” Coach Rexroat said. “(That team is made up of) Austin Thompson, Tramaine Smith, Dalton Miracle and Ben Frazier.
“Junior Steven Young is starting to look good in the hurdles, both the 110 and 300-meters. He just won the Bethel Invitational with the hurdles.”
The Rockets finished second out of 12 teams at the Bethel Invitational with only eight individuals competing, something Rexroat said pleased the team. He said it was the first time in a while that the Rockets have taken home hardware like that.
In the field events, Rexroat said that freshman Logan Fishback will lead the charge in the throwing events, both discus and shot put.
“Logan had himself a pretty good meet over at Bethel,” Rexroat said of Fishback’s fourth-place finish in the discus and six-place finish in the shot put. “That was his first meet of the season, so it looks like he is going to follow a long line of Fishback family members throwing shot and disc for Clermont Northeastern. Several of his relatives have thrown here, too. He looks like he will be a good one down the road.”
On the girls side, Marissa Chambers will handle the throwing duties in discus and shot put. Chambers finished second in the discus at Bethel and fourth in the shot put.
Other than Chambers, Rexroat said primarily sprinters make up the rest of the team. Freshman Kaitlin Reece is looking to be a strong contributor to the Lady Rockets for years to come.
“She won the 400-meters and placed in the 100 and 200 over at Bethel,” Rexroat said. “She’s been very consistent and looks like she is going to be a strong 400-meter runner for us.”
Krista King, a junior, is also starting off strong, especially in the 4×100 relay. Katie Phair, Jessica Shafer and Reece round out that relay team.
Phair will also run the 400-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles and long jump as well.
In the Southern Buckeye Conference, Rexroat expects Georgetown and Williamsburg to continue to stay near the top with Blanchester improving as well. He said that Felicity is in a similar position as CNE as far as numbers go, but believes his squad will surprise some people with the amount of athleticism and talent that they have.
Rexroat said one of the keys to his team sticking to his prediction would be the continued hard work that he has seen early in the season. With the weather not cooperating in the preseason, many teams are in a similar position as CNE as they try to make up for lost time out on the track.
That being said, expectations are still high for the Rockets. Rexroat believes his 4×100 and 4×200 boys’ relays have a chance to qualify out of districts as well as a few other sprinters dependent upon their improvement throughout the year. Kaitlin Reece in the 400-meters could be a sleeper to qualify for regionals as well, according to her coach.