Glen Rose High School girls head track coach Sandy Langford has state high jump champion Ally Andress back for her senior year, and a couple of up-and-coming young distance standouts in the fold as well.
Meanwhile, boys head track coach Jacob Marwitz will be counting on good things from returning area qualifier Dakota Paschall, plus a number of other strong performers.
In their last meet before spring break, the Lady Tigers finished second to Midlothian Heritage. Glen Rose finished fifth in the varsity boys division.
The Tigers and the Lady Tigers hosted the annual Tiger Relays on Thursday. Results were not available by press time.
Next, the Glen Rose teams will compete at the Optimist Club meet in Stephenville on March 29.
On April 4-5 the teams will jump into the District 8-4A meet, which will be a tough challenge.
“Our district is probably the toughest in the state,” Langford said. “In our district, the top four will be the top four (results) going into state. Even the sprinters, with Midlothian Heritage and Stephenville, and mix in Waxahachie Life, they’re blowing everybody away by seconds.”
That will make it difficult for some very talented performers, because only the top two in each of the state’s four regions advance to the state meet in each event.
Although the Lady Tigers lost regional pole vault qualifier Jaylan Evans to graduation, they have both Andress and junior Shalyn Wedel, who qualified for the regional meet in both pole vault and in the 400-meter dash.
Adding to their depth are record-breaking sophomore twins Alexis and Jocelyn Mims in the distance races. Jocelyn qualified for the state cross country meet last spring as a freshman.
“It’s a mixture. We’ve got some really good freshmen to go with our seniors and some really good sophomores and juniors too,” Langford said. “We’re going to be really good in above the 200 meters, as far as district. But the 400 and above, we’re loaded. We’re going to have a great mile relay.”
A bonus addition is actually a familiar name — senior Laiken McAnear. She was sidelined last season after having knee surgery, but had is back to compete again in the girls 100 and 300. She was a regional qualifier in those events her freshman and sophomore years, Langford said.
Andress is seeking her third consecutive trip to the state meet in Austin. As a sophomore she cleared the same height as the state champion in high jump, but had to settle for the silver medal based on the number of misses. Last year she won the gold, with a jump of 5-6.
This year, after signing a letter-of-intent for track and field with Texas A&M, the 5-foot, 10-inch Andress could find that the mental challenge will be greater than the physical one, according to her coach, with high expectations of people watching from afar.
“She looks great in practice,” Langford said. “It will be a mental struggle, after signing with a Division I college. It’s stressful. She knows they’re looking at her results every week, even though she can relax. It will be a tough mental year for her, because she’s so competitive. She’s clearing 5-6 consistently in practice. We’re shooting for 5-8, 5-10 this year.”
Andress is also a serious contender in the triple jump. She just missed qualifying for the state meet in that event last year, finishing third at the regional meet.
Other key contributors for the varsity girls this season should be hard-working Taylor Fellers, who excels in the 800-meter run and on the 1,600-meter relay, along with Bree Baker — another sophomore cross country standout who will be on that relay as well, according to Langford.
Senior Anne Chapman returns as a 100-meter standout for the Lady Tigers after recovering from a broken ankle that kept her out of action last season.
The Lady Tigers’ other seniors this season are Valeria Castro, Madison Roberson and Beana Rosentreter.
Others likely to contribute to the varsity are freshmen Lindsay Andress (Ally’s sister), Abby Stephenson, Lilla Boyett and Hannah Cantwell.
Marwitz noted that along with Paschall, other returning lettermen among the boys include Chance Hatfield, Weston Halcom, Dylan ibarra and Tanner Stroud.
“Paschall was an area qualifier in the 100 and is on the 4x100 relay with freshman Brick Umpress, junior Garrett Gilbreath and senior Drayden James,” Marwitz stated, noting that Nic Lara is another senior who should contribute. “Other juniors are Coby Riley, Jett Gould, Cameron Griffin and Keegan Bunt. (The 1,600 relay) is Umpress, Gould, James and Hatfield.”
The boys, like the girls, will also be facing one of the toughest districts in the state — and it could be the best of all, so the Tigers have their work cut out for them.
Marwitz noted that it’s a “good group of seniors running which is always good and allows us to have more depth than what we had last year. Our younger guys are really doing a good job and improving each week. Our district is as good as any in our classification so our main focus is to continue to improve one week at a time.”