KINGMAN - Though there are seasoned veterans peppered throughout the Kingman High boys and girls track rosters, the Bulldogs' success will hinge on the shoulders of their young athletes.
Kingman opens the 2015 track season at the Lake Havasu Multiple at 3:30 p.m. today in Havasu.
"The future looks bright as we have a group of newcomers thanks to the KMS (Kingman Middle School) and White Cliffs track teams," said KHS track coach Anne Bathauer. "We had a limited number of freshmen last year, but this year the numbers are equal across the board. Total numbers are at 65 to 70, so I'm real happy with the turnout."
Bathauer likes her core of seniors on the boys team who should provide points for the Bulldogs in the mid-distances such as the 800- and 1,600-meter runs, the relays and the high jump. Tanner Cardiff, Andrew Jenks and Dominic Dubay are expected to score for Kingman, along with junior Christian Barrios.
This is Cardiff's fourth and final year, and he's ready to leave everything out on the track.
"It's senior year, and I have to go all out," he said. "My goal is to run a two-minute 800 and in high jump reach the (AIA state) provisional 5 feet, 8 inches. I'm looking to improve in everything."
Senior Daniel Williford leads the sprinting contingent in the 100, 200 and 400.
"We have some up-and-coming sophomores who look to really help in this area," Bathauer said. "Daniel has been working hard and improving."
Kingman brings experience with Abraham Ruelas, Casey Cenquigrana and Matt Valdez in the throws (discus and shot put) to the season. The jumping events are probably going to be challenging for the Bulldogs, as that is where Kingman's youth lies. Junior Mario Barocio should lead the Bulldogs in the two hurdle events.
The Kingman girls track team has seen an expansion in numbers from last year to this year, but that gives Bathauer the task of finding the right fits.
"We have more numbers so we have more depth," the coach said. "The issue will be youth, finding out our athletes' strengths and where they will help us out the most."
The Lady Bulldogs do have experience in the 800, 1600 and 3,200 with Brianna Gastineau and Megan Gaul. Gastineau will also compete on the 400-relay team, and Gaul is focused on reaching state in the high jump.
Gaul just missed the 4-8 provisional last year and is eyeing 5-2.
"Everything has improved since last year," the senior said. "I'm real excited to improve on everything."
Freshman Courtney Mosser is expected to lead in the hurdles and help the team in the sprints and high jumping. Junior, and first-year track member, Desirae Gonzalez is already being looked at to score major points in the throwing events and help out in the 400 and 800 relays.
"We will have to give them time to get used to the events and see where they will help the team," Bathauer said. "We're excited with their progress and efforts - both on and off the track."