Eminence's track team might be short on numbers and without a track to train on, but that doesn't stop the Warriors from tearing down the runway in lightning fast times and competing against some of the larger schools from across the state.
With just seven athletes on the roster, the tracksters will start their fourth consecutive season after a 30-year layoff dating back to the mid-1970s.
"Our approach at Eminence is to allow our kids the opportunity to do the same things other students get at other schools," said Steve Frommeyer, who is the principal, football coach and track coach at EHS - a school that has had a one-person swim team, two-person tennis team and three-person golf team. "If students want to run track, we will provide that to them. It's all about providing the kids an opportunity to compete. And we want to have fun and learn some lessons along the way."
Despite being outnumbered by just about every other team in the state, Eminence returns some very talented athletes. Sydney Armstrong and Isiah Durrett are back as seniors, along with juniors Ed Berry and Brock Roberts, sophomores TJ Cooper and Tihon Durrett and freshman Trey Lindsey.
At the regional championship last spring, the 800-meter relay team of Durrett, Berry, Cooper and Roberts barely missed advancing to the Class A Kentucky State Track & Field Championships with a third-place finish in 1:36.35. All four runners are back this season and are looking for Eminence's first relay trip to state since 1971.
Individually, Berry provided the best finishes from a year ago with a third-place showing in the high jump at the regional meet, along with a pair of fifth-place finishes in the long jump and triple jump. His 5-foot-10 high jump performance was good enough to advance him to the state meet for the second straight year - he placed ninth as a freshman and eighth as a sophomore. Out of the 20 competitors in last year's high jump competition, 12 were seniors, including all seven ahead of Berry. That leaves the Eminence junior the top dog heading into the season.
"Ed wants to get back to state in the jumping events and be competitive, and he's definitely capable of that," Frommeyer said of Berry, who could become the first individual state champion at Eminence since Jim Green, who was a star sprinter for EHS as an 11-time state champion and went on to dominate races at the University of Kentucky and on the Professional Track Circuit. "As a freshman and sophomore, he was jumping against the best in the state, and now as a junior I think he's ready to make a bigger impact."
The Warriors, led by Berry, will concentrate on the individual sprinting events, the relay sprints and the jumps. There are no distance runners or throwers on this year's squad, which will make it almost impossible to compete against other teams in the team competition, where athletes can score points based on finishing places in each event.
Eminence will focus on seven events - 400-meter relay, 800-meter relay, high school, long jump and triple jump.
"Most of the guys will be on the relays, which is where our strength lies," Frommeyer said. "Track is an individual sport except for the relays. And being a football coach, the ultimate team sport, I like the relays because everyone has to work together."
With limited practice due to the weather and spring football training, which was over last week, the track team still needs to improve its handoff skills and starts coming out of the blocks. The Warriors incorporated those two areas into their training this week in preparation for their first meet at Western Hills this Saturday. Other key meets will be the Wildcat Relays, held at Henry County High School April 12, the regional meet the week of May 20, and the state meet May 30-31 at the University of Louisville.
Without a track - a big disadvantage for the sprints, blocks and jumping events - the Warriors will work out at either Henry County or Shelby County two or more times each week. There, they will hone their skills for competitions.
"We have a lot to learn over the course of the season,' Frommeyer said. "And hopefully by regional we have them in the right spots and ready to go."
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