BELLEVILLE — Under the guidance of legendary East St. Louis track and field coach John Davis, former Flyers great Kevin Anderson learned what it took to be an elite athlete.
Now 14 years later and in the early days of his first year as boys track coach at Belleville East, Anderson is looking to get the Lancers back among the elite teams in the Southwestern Conference.
"It's an adjustment, but I'm learning what it takes to be a head coach at the high school level. This is a good group of athletes and they are coming out every day and working as hard as they can,'' Anderson said. "The attitude has been great and our numbers are good.''
"I really like what I see so far. The goal is to be at our best for the sectional and state meets in May. I think we've got a chance to get some kids through and do well.''
The best of the bunch is sophomore William Session.
The son of former East St. Louis standout Rodney Session, the sophomore is regarded as one of the best in the Midwest in the 110 meter hurdles and ran a time of 14.4 seconds at the USA Track and National finals last summer.
"I don't think I've seen a sophomore run 14.4 before,'' Anderson said. "William has a chance to be very strong and we're looking for good things from him this spring. He's running the 110s now, but I would think he'll be in the 300 hurdles as well.''
Other athletes looking strong in the early going for the Lancers include Jmarius Morris in the hurdles, Jalen McIntyre in the 400, Xavier Hall in the 800, Jason Erb and Joe Kraus in the distance events and Key-Shone Young in the shot put.
Competing in the SWC against state powers Edwardsville, East St. Louis, O'Fallon and Belleville West has had little effect on the Lancers girls squad, which should be solid in all areas once again, according to coach Bryan Mitchell.
"No question, the SWC is one of the top track conferences in the state. Just look at how well we've done at the state meet in the past few years,'' Mitchell said. "With East St. Louis moving back up to Class 3A this year, it will make our sectional even that much more difficult, but I think we'll have a good year.
"We've had some good performances already in the indoor season and I've been very pleased at what I've seen at this point of the year.''
Always strong in the sprints, Mitchell has high hopes for his 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.
Junior Sidne' Williamson will be a mainstay in two of the relays, while also competing in the 200 and the long jump.
Senior Brynesha Mosby has already jumped 35-feet 10-inches in the triple jump and should be one of the SWC's best in that event. Tamar Mosby and Natalie Kuldell have been the Lancers' best in the high jump to start the season.
Freshman Jazzmine Poole may be a potential state medal winner in the shot put and discus in the near future, while sister Jennifer Poole is also solid in both events.
Junior Miya Dorsey is the Lancers' best in the hurdles, while senior Taylor Sunkett will lead the way in the 400. Sophomore Kaitlynn Sanchez will run the 800 and 1,600. Sophomore Haley Inyart also will compete in the 1,600.