The Richmond Hill High School track team has greatly improved this year. The Wildcats didn’t make it to state last year, but Coach Levi Sybert, who coaches the team along with Coach Jimmy Hires, said this year’s squad is showing signs of greatness.
"They seem to be working a lot harder this year, and there’s just a much better work ethic across the board," Sybert said. "We definitely have a handful of athletes that could be contenders for state."
Sybert said the current roster is a mix of newcomers and returning athletes. Among the top stars is newcomer Matt Geddy who recently moved here from Alabama.
"Matt is real experienced and he’s already turned in some great times for the 400 meter," Sybert said. "David Cassidy, who just moved here from Montana, is another great prospect. He did some great things for the cross country program already and I see a lot of potential in him."
Among others, Sybert doted on Shaquille Walker who has a few early victories under his belt and is "real competitive with a driving desire to win."
The first two scheduled meets of the season were cancelled due to rain. The Wildcats have had three meets thus far.
Their first meet was March 4 at Liberty High and was "the first meet ever for a lot of our athletes," Sybert said. It was this initial meet where Geddy "came out and showed a lot of maturity in the 400 meter race. He went out at a pace, stuck with it and came ahead at the end. Also, Cassidy went real hard into the 1300 meter. He spent up most of his energy in it, but came back a little bit smarter in the 1600 to win that one. For the girls, Janell McKinney won the 800 and showed that she is a key player."
Next up was March 6 at Bryan County. Also competing was BCHS, Portal, and South Effingham. The girls scored a bit higher than the boys, but the boys won many of their events. Cassidy won the 1600 and 3200. Heather Vaccaro won the discus. Jillian Yontz won the 800. Shaquille Walker won the 400. Chelsey Callahan won the 3,200. Numerous other victories were claimed by the Cats.
On March 13, the team racked up many more victories during a meet held at Bryan County High School. Results for the Redskins will be in the next issue.
Here are the first place finishers: Jillian Yontz in the 800 meter dash, Chelsey Callahan in the 3200 meter run, Heather Vaccaro in the discus, Matt Gaddy in the 400 meter dash, Shaquille Walker in the 800 meter run, David Cassidy in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs, and Cassidy, Walker, Gaddy and Michael Morris in the 4x400 meter relay.
"Some pleasant surprises were Michael Morris and Shaquille Walker," Sybert said. "Michael helped the 4x400 win with a solid second leg. The team was 2 seconds faster this week. Michael has spent the majority of track team with the completion JROTC Raider team, and has been able to run his first meet with us. Shaquille ran the 800 meter for the first time and came away with a solid victory. Gaddy showed consistent poise in the 400 meter and 4x400 meter relay as he has systematically propelled himself to the front each time that he has ran. The girls did not improve as much as the boys this week, consistent event wins for some, but not as high of marks."
Next up for the Wildcat track teams is April 3 at BCHS. They return to BCHS on April 9 before competing in the region tournament at the end of April.