The Belleville West Maroons track and field team is rebuilding this spring.
Under coach Patton Segraves, West has placed in the top six at the Class 3A State Track meet six times in the past eight years, bringing home multiple medals winners in each of those appearances. But last year, after a sectional meet performance in which it qualified for state in 10 events, the Maroons had just one medal winner.
This year, West returns a few experienced team members, but Segraves hopes to continue to rebuild with athletes who have come through the Maroons system.
“We’ve been very fortunate in the past few years in that we’ve had athletes come through our junior high school programs that we’ve been able to develop into athletes who have gone on to and excelled at local and state levels. We look forward to the challenge of doing that again,” Segraves said. “I would say that we’re rebuilding this year again but the goals of getting kids to the state track meet and having them perform well, remains the same.
“We have some athletes who are capable of doing that again this year.”
The Maroons top individual could be senior Ian Parker in the triple jump. Currently bothered by a sore back, Parker qualified for the state meet a year ago in the triple jump and has gone as far as 45 feet.
Parker should be one of the elite athletes in the state in the long jump as well and will be a key on the sprint relays where juniors Ni’el Hill, LaMondre Carter and Ni’Zarien Cason will run in the 400 and 800 meter relays.
Another possible state medal winner could be senior Ricky Berry in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles.
“Those are probably our top individual hopes at state with Parker in the jumps and Ricky (Berry) in the hurdles,” Segraves said. “He’s been close and hopefully this will be the year he breaks through.”
Sophomore Jalen Rogers along with freshmen Nate Robinson and Brandon Jenkins are all int he running to compete in the 400 meters. Freshman Remel Hall and junior Nick Thomas could also compete in the 200 and 400 meters.
“It’s exciting because its going to create competition in practice,” Segraves said. “You come out, go to practice and perform well and you are going to run in meets,” Segraves said..
Freshman Keontai Qualls and sophomore Jaylin Mosby will also play key roles while senior Nate Robben along with juniors Lucas Robben and James Reed headline a group of strong 800 meter runners for West, while senior Brian Gichuru will compete in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter events.