Eagles look to capture first state medal in school history

It's been a solid season for the Elyria Christian track and field team. As the Eagles get ready for the Class 1A State Championship this coming weekend, the Eagles our the Great Plains Federal Credit Union Team of the Week, presented by the McPherson Sentinel.

"It's pretty special for our students. I think as we have some of these opportunities to be team of the week during the winter season. Our students worked hard as the other area students," Eagle's Head Coach Zach Goodrich said. "It's pretty special to have them recognized in such a competitive area with McPherson High School, Moundridge and Smoky Valley. It just shows that their work is paying off and for this weekend at the state meet that we hope that we will do pretty well like it has been pretty good for us the entire track season."

The Eagles had a great week. Last Saturday during Class 1A regional championship in Burlington, they qualified 14 athletes in nine events. Ten of them are from the girl's side, and they finished as runner ups during regionals. For Goodrich, this is the most fully-depth team he has ever assembled.

"On the girl's side, the depth has been tremendous," Goodrich said. "It has allowed us to score points when we haven't scored points in the past. So we're looking forward to them to compete well in the state meet. You have to have few finishes in the top three to end up finishing well in the team aspect of it, but we're hoping to put enough races together as a chance to be in the top five. I know we're one of the smaller teams there with numbers-wise, but we're looking forward to being surprised again and make it to the top three."

Leading the Lady Eagles will be Olivia Peters. Peters, a freshman, has been Elyria's workhorse all season. In state, she will participate in four different events, two of them are in the relays, where she anchors in both the 4x100 and 4x400.

"She is one our stronger runners, and hopefully we have her do well," Goodrich said. "We're looking to have our first medal at Elyria Christian for a state meet, and hopefully she is the one that helps us do that well as a team and as an individual."

What could be a challenge for the Eagles is on the 400 meters and 4x400 relay team on the boys' side. The 4x400 team includes Josef Hobson, Ben Unruh, Caleb Froese and Jackson Stone. Goodrich also mentioned the improvements he saw in Hobson as he qualified in the 400. He came a long way after dealing with a knee injury that had him sidelined all of last year.

"His time has been pretty good all season, but hear late he has really dropped his time to give him a chance, and we weren't sure he would qualify in the 400 meters, but he's someone who works pretty hard this past three weeks at the regional meet," Goodrich said. "We're looking forward to seeing him compete, and I think if he puts out a good race, he'll put himself in good position to run with the top guys, and he's somebody that we've been impressed all season."

The state tournament will begin on Friday, May 24 and will conclude on Saturday, May 25.

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports