McPherson High track and field coach Jace Pavlovich has high expectations coming into the 2015 season, expectations his teams should have no trouble meeting.

McPherson High track and field coach Jace Pavlovich has high expectations coming into the 2015 season, expectations his teams should have no trouble meeting.
“I am very excited about this season,” Pavlovich, who is entering his ninth year coaching at MHS, said. “We have some great leaders entering the season. We started practice with 104 athletes. That is the largest group we’ve ever had. Through the course of the next few weeks, I expect that the numbers will drop, but it’s great to start with such a large group.”
The high expectations for the Bullpups begin on the girls’ side, where they finished 12th at state in 2014 and second in the AVCTL Division III.
The Pups will be anchored on the field events by senior Bri Cooks, who holds the school record in the shot put and finished fourth at the 2014 All-State Track and Field Championships with a throw of 41 feet, 9 inches.
Also back is MHS’s lone state champion from 2014 in junior Amy Suenram, who pulled off a shocker at the state meet with a leap of 16 feet, 6 inches on her third attempt.
State qualifiers from last year also include Morgan Howard (100-meter hurdles), Megan Pedersen (high jump)  and Christina Wankum (1,600m, 3,200m ).
“Health is a major concern for our girls team, especially,” Pavlovich said. “If we are healthy in may, we have the potential to finish high in the state standings. We have some very experienced and talented girls. As of right now, the girls team could be three-deep at every event except pole vault.”
The Bullpup boys don’t quite have that depth, but Pavlovich does have some high-quality returners in 2015.
That includes senior Chris Stoppel, who medaled three times at the 2014 state meet. Stoppel grabbed silver in the 100 dash, third in the 200 and was second in the 4x100 relay with teammates Collin Harvey, Dylan Shook and Taylor Kynaston. Both Shook and Kynaston return for their junior seasons.
The lack of state experience shouldn’t prove to be a detriment to the Pups, however, as Pavlovich has a number of freshmen and sophomores that are expected to make an impact.
“Our throws, jumps and vaults group should be much improved from last year,” he said. “I’m excited to see what our guys can do in the distance events. The distance group has been working incredibly hard. Our sprints group should score quite a few points in meets with the guys that we have returning.”
The Pups will also be able to field a full JV team for the first time in a while, which is due to a freshman group that Pavlovich is excited for.
The JV team while host an invitational April 23 at McPherson Stadium. The varsity home invite will be April 30.

Contact Chris Swick by email at cswick@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.