Cahokia girls track and field coach Roscoe Dowell admits there is a sense of excitement surrounding the Comanches heading into the 2017 season.
There is excitement about six-time individual state champion Mariya Hudson and her quest to three-peat as the Class 2A state champion in the 200 meters. There is excitement about sophomore LaQwasia Stepney as she attempts to establish herself as one of the state’s best in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles. And there is excitement about a deep and talented freshman class which may be one of the best in school history.
But the most excitement centers around the Comanches program and its quest to nab at least a share of a fourth straight team title. The Comanches tied for the Class 2A title last year with Maple Park-Kaneland after winning the title in 2014 and 2015.
“Lets not talk about four in a row yet. You’ve got teams like Springfield Southeast, Chicago Brooks, Dunlap and Kaneland which are going to have something to say about that,” Dowell said on Thursday. “As far as pressure goes, I don’t think there is much if any. All we can do is go out and perform to the best of our ability. If someone is better than we are that day, then so be it.”
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Hudson, a Comanches senior, has her eyes on possible state championships in the 100, 200 and 400 meters in Charleston in late May. Hudson is also a potential state finals placewinner in the long jump, where she was third a year ago.
“Mariya is stronger, faster and more focused than I’ve ever seen her. She has a chance to post some pretty special times this year,” Dowell said. “Stepney also looks good after last year when she had to learn what high school track and field is about. I think you will see her post some good times as well in the hurdles.
“Stepney will run the hurdles and maybe two relays, and then we’re going to put Takyra Buford and Tamadja Rodgers in two open events as well. The plan is then to put these freshmen and sophomores in the relays and see if we can’t do something there as well.”
Two of the freshmen to watch include Makayla Brownlee and Nikki Clark. Seniors Jailyn Allen and Lachaundria Scott, highly-touted junior Jayla Crosby, and Briana Martin, Tela Quarles and Zandra Spencer will also be counted on.