SENECA - Seneca is well known as a powerhouse in sports like volleyball and softball, but has also put a focus on growing the running sports in their school in recent years.
The Seneca track team has long been best known for an enthusiastic group of girls who excelled in the throwing field events. This year, they are bringing a strongly developing group of sprinters, middle- and long-distance runners, and jumpers into play.
The team is coached by Cody Sime, who has served in the role for the last six years. Sime is assisted with the varsity team by Karen Snyder, who has been with the team for the last five years. The team also has three other assistant coaches who ‘float’ in their roles on the team. They are Jessica Olson, Wyatt Fisher, and Abby Emler
Results versus record
Seneca is a small school, and with the other popular spring sports such as softball/baseball, and now trapshooting, the track effort is a small but growing program.
“In our program, the focus is on individual growth,” Sime said. “We have never won a meet as a team.”
Sime emphasized that running is a wonderful way for students to pursue their physical fitness goals. In addition, it is a sport that they can enjoy throughout their lives.
Ten of the team’s 18 members are part of the sprinting effort, and six team members compete in middle- and long-distance events.
Senior Buddy Boland competes in the 100-yard dash, and his current personal best is 16.09. Allie Aspenson is another senior who runs the 100-meter dash. This is her first year running with the track team. Izaiah Caya is the team’s lone hurdler, competing in the 110- and 300-meter hurdle events. In his second year running with the team, senior Stephanos Pavlis competes in the 1600-meter run as well as the 4x1600 relay.
Junior Helen Clark is a runner that seems to enjoy both shorter as well as middle-distance events. Clark competes in the 400-meter, as well as the 4x100 relay. Terrance Clark is another junior that competes in the 400-meter event. Juniors Genevieve Noel and Brendan Roling both gravitate to the 4x100 relay effort, while junior Andrew Aspenson seems more inclined to go the distance in the 1600-meter and 4x1600 relay events.
Sophomores Kelsy Ostrander, Murielle Grover and Hunter Aspenson are all part of the team’s sprinting effort. All three compete in the 100-meter dash. Ostrander and Aspenson are also part of the 4x100 relay teams, and Grover runs the 200-meter dash, and sprinkles in a distance run with the 4x1600 relay team as well. Aspenson was named to the 2017 First Team All Conference in his freshman year. Sophomore Travis Zach competes in distance events and says “my goal this season is to get faster times.”
Two of the three freshman out for the team this season run in the sprinting events. Delaney Boland says “I enjoy sprinting and running relays.” Ava Payne runs in the 100-meter dash, and says “this year my goal is to make it to state competition.” Rounding out the freshman runners on the team, Maxine Grover is oriented towards distance running. “I love to run miles and miles and miles and miles,” Grover said.
Continuing the school’s tradition of being strong in field events, twelve of the team’s 18 athletes are either throwers or jumpers for the team.
Senior Buddy Boland has competed with the track team since middle school, and has a personal best in the long jump of 9.1 feet.
Juniors Helen Clark, Terrance Clark, Genevieve Noel, and Ali Woods are all throwers for the team. All four throw discus, and the Clarks also compete in the shot put event.
“My goal this year is to be the best player and teammate I can be,” Terrance Clark said.
Brenden Roling is the lone jumper for the team of the juniors that are out for track this year. Roling competes in the high jump event.
Kelsy Ostrander, and Nate Klema are the sophomore throwers on the team. Ostrander and Klema throw discus, and Klema throws shot put as well. Hunter Aspenson and Murielle Grover are sophomore jumpers. Aspenson competes in both the long and high jump events, with Grover competing only in the long jump.
Ava Payne is the lone freshman field event participant, competing in the high jump event.
Strengths and challenges
Coach Sime once again expressed the view that the small size of their team is actually the team’s greatest strength.
“Because we are a small team, our athletes get a great deal of attention from the coaches,” Sime said. “This gives our athletes an advantage in growing their skills and achieving their goals.”
Not surprisingly, Sime characterizes the team’s greatest strength as also being their greatest challenge.
“It’s a simple truth that a smaller team will have a harder time scoring points,” Sime said. “So, the size of our team remains our greatest challenge.”
Coach Sime says his goals for the team continue to revolve around helping individual athletes on the team to grow and improve.
“We want our returning team members to improve their times and show growth,” Sime said. “For our younger and newer team members, we want to help them figure out what they enjoy, help them get in the swing of things, and propel them forward in assisting the team with scoring points.”
Coach Sime, when asked what teams he keeps an eye on, was quick to point to North Crawford as “always a team to keep an eye on.” Sime also mentioned Kickapoo/LaFarge and Ithaca as teams to watch in the conference.