KINGMAN - The Lee Williams High School track team has a chance to do something that would be the cherry on top of a successful first year for the school and a building block for a strong future: Qualify athletes for May's state track meet.
"That would be icing on the cake," said LWHS track coach Joan Abraham. "We didn't have enough meets in cross country and I fully believe we have some kids that are capable"
The LWHS track team is just one of three sports competing at the varsity level in the school's first year.
Because of this, the school only had one athlete with a varsity letter - Brendon Allred, who earned his letter in cross country. So far this track season, that number has increased by one. Marli Lauck recently broke the 15-point threshold to officially earn a letter.
"Brendon was the only athlete who had a varsity letter. Nobody else has one. They have them in JV," Abraham said.
Besides earning varsity letters, the Volunteers are in a unique situation in that they have an opportunity to write the school's first chapter in its history.
"The person that comes in first, that's a school record," Abraham said. "Every time you get better, you break a school record. That's not easy to do."
When practice officially began last month, Abraham had around 37 athletes, with the bulk of those numbers coming from football coach Eugene Kramer's football players. Kramer will be helping Abraham by coaching the throwers, long jumpers and triple jumpers.
Besides Kramer's help, Abraham has been getting advice from former Kingman High track coach Anne Bathauer, who currently coaches the distance runners for the Bulldogs.
"She's been really, really good at helping me," Abraham said of Bathauer. "We are learning. We are all trying to be patient with each other. Coach Kramer is out here and he's coached track before."
Along with Lauck and Allred, others expected to contribute according to Abraham include Alexis Hoffman, Braxton Burgess, Landon Kramer and Giancarlo Narvarte.
Narvarte already has provisional state qualifying marks and Hoffman placed fifth in hurdles Saturday at the Lake Havasu invitational, a meet that included Division I and Division II.
"She got fifth place as a freshman," Abraham said of Hoffman. "What is she going to do when she is a senior? She might be that girl who gets first place."
LWHS will be competing in Division III, which is the same division they will be in next year when the Arizona Interscholastic Association's new two-year scheduling block takes effect.
Because of this, the qualifying marks won't be as difficult compared to KHS' Division I qualifying standards. According to Abraham, they are "attainable."
"I really do think that we will have a few kids that will qualify for state," Abraham said. "It would be nice if they surprise me and we have lots that qualify for state. It's going to depend on how much work they put into practice. I have some out here that are working their tails off."
When the state track meet takes place in May at Mesa Community College, seeing a Lee Williams runner could be a common sight for years to come.
"The size of the team is great. They are great kids. It's going to be exciting to see what happens in four years," Abraham said. "With this size of a team and if we have 30 kids that come out each year, we will be over a hundred kids by the time the seniors get here. That will be a good program."