With just two seniors on both the boys and girls teams this spring, Gibsonburg track and field coach Glenn Owens knows the Golden Bears have a lot of work to do if they hope to duplicate last year’s performance at the Toledo Area Athletic Conference meet.
The Bears’ boys’ team won the TAAC title, ending Toledo Christian’s nine-year dominance, while the girls’ team took second behind TC.
“Overall, our (girls’) goal is to win the TAAC title,” Owens said. “That’s what we set out to do the last couple years. We’re trying to find enough points to give Toledo Christian a run for it. We’re pretty young. Hopefully the girls who performed well last year come back again and some of these young girls can score so we can give Toledo Christian and some of these other teams a run for the title.
“We’re going to have a little trouble on the boys’ side. We lost a lot of guys (to graduation) and the majority of our boys are freshmen and sophomores.”
Gibsonburg’s girls placed second at the Margaretta Relays and took third at 17-team Lakota Invitational this season. The Bears’ boys took fourth at Margaretta and ninth at the Lakota Invite.
The girls have an ace in the hole in junior sprinter Colleen Reynolds, the defending Division III state champion at 400 meters. Reynolds took first in three events (100, 200, 400) at last year’s TAAC meet and helped the 4x400 relay to a first-place finish. She also placed fifth in the 100 and 200 at the state meet.
“Our goals are pretty much the same, to get her to be the best she can be and win the 400 state title again,” Owens said. “She won the indoor 400 meters for Division II-III at the Indoor State Championships at the University of Akron. She is focused on doing better in the 100 and 200 this year.”
Colleen’s twin sister, Kendall, returns after taking second in the 100, 200 and 400 at the TAAC meet.
“Colleen and Kendall both had pretty good indoor seasons,” Owens said. “Kendall is working as hard a possible to beat her sister. They’re really great kids overall and they get along great, but there’s that competitive thing. Kendall wants to beat her. She beat Colleen in the 100 at the Lakota Invitational. We have been trying her out in the 300 hurdles to see how that goes.”
Gibsonburg’s only seniors on the girls’ squad are Molly Burkett and Haley McClure.
“Molly is our top distance runner,” Owens said. “Haley is usually on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.”
Sophomore Abbey Castillo was a regional qualifier in the shot put last year, and she also throws the discus. Owens said Castillo has already broken her personal records in both events this season.
“She’s got a chance to do well,” the coach said.
Sophomore Isabel Del Toro competes in the long jump and 400 in addition to the 4x200 and 4x400 relay, which qualified to regionals a year ago. Freshman Annie Castillo also long-jumps and runs on the sprint relays.
“Annie has been doing well for us,” Owens said. “She’s been scoring points in the invitationals, in the long jump and relays.”
Other top performers are expected to be sophomore Selena Alejandro in the sprints and all three relays, junior Hannah Ernsthausen in the high jump and sophomore Marie Villarreal in the pole vault.
“Selena was on the 4x400 relay that went to regionals,” Owens said. “She just happens to be behind Colleen and Kendall in the 100 and 200. She helps us out in the relays and has done really well in the 4x400. She usually leads that off.”
Alex Garcia and Andy Burmeister are the lone seniors on Gibsonburg’s boys squad. Garcia runs the 100 and 200, while Burmeister looks to defend his TAAC titles in the long jump and 400.
“Alex hasn’t been out (for track) since the beginning of his sophomore year and has been posting some pretty good times for not being out for a couple years,” Owens said. “Andy is looking pretty good. He’s already jumped farther this year than he did last year, in the mid-18s (feet).”
Josh Dyer took third as a freshman in the 100 and 200 at last year’s conference meet, while sophomore Marcus Tille is making strides in the 1600 and 3200.
“He’s been looking pretty good,” Owens said. “He’s working at bringing his times down.”
Junior Tyler Hovis returns in the shot and discus after placing eighth in the shot at regionals last season.
“He has improved significantly in the discus,” Owens said. “He’s throwing 136 feet, which is 10-15 feet farther than he’s ever thrown before.”