MOUNT VERNON — The area’s best track and field athletes are gearing up a strong night of competition when the 2012 Mount Vernon News SpecTRACKular showcase kicks off on Friday.
Athletes from nine area schools will challenge each other to see who is the best, and ultimately, who is the Most Valuable Competitor.
Weather has been an issue again this track season. Over the past few weeks, the hardest rains and coldest temperatures have occured on Saturday, when the biggest meets take place. As a result, athletes at this year’s SpecTRACKular have qualified by the narrowest of margins.
There’s a lot of anticipation as the field for both boys and girls is as balanced as ever. Mount Vernon has dominated the throwing events this season, with Emily Miglin qualifying for both shot put and discus. Meridia Brooks, Mary Egan, Abby Sahr and Leslie Day will challenge SpecTRACKular records as well. Utica’s Monika smith and Danville’s Jayne Scott and Kimberly Hansen will participate in both events as well.
Fredericktown’s Carolyn Webster is the current area leader in both the long jump and high jump. She’s also in the 100-meter hurdles, giving her a fighting chance to be named Most Valuable Competitor. If, that is, she can hold off the talented Northridge foursome of Hayley Menix, Ellie Shedloski, Caitlyn Tulloss and Jessica Holbrook.
In girls track, talented athletes like Johnstown’s Stephanie Loshbough, Centerburg’s Amelia Holt and Fredericktown’s Emily Roberts return. Roberts and Loshbough will face off in the 3200-meter run, along with Centerburg’s Alyssa Burton and Torrie Purdy, Mount Vernon’s Lindsey Studebaker and Fredericktown’s Rebekah Haip in one of the most anticipated races ever.
On the boys side, Mount Vernon’s Leevi Stump looks to pick up where he left off last year. In 2011, he was a point away from earning the Most Valuable Competitor award. This year, he is a favorite in the long jump, the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash, putting him in the running for the prestigious award once again.
If he gets it, he’ll have to get through Johnstown’s Ross Franklin, who is the top area qualifier in the 100. He is also tops in the shot put, though Utica’s Levi Boggs is a very close second.
The boys 200 is also one of the main events of the evening. With the top seven qualifiers separated by three-quarters of a second, anything can happen.
SpecTRACKular was the brainchild of former News sports editor Joe Wasiluk. Wasiluk, who printed the top 10 News area athletes with the best performances in each track and field event each week, had the idea to showcase these athletes on Mount Vernon High School’s all-weather track.
In 1980, the News coverage area included the teams from Centerburg, Clear Fork, Danville, East Knox, Fredericktown, Highland, Mount Vernon, Northridge and Utica. Johnstown was added to the area for the seventh meet that took place on Friday, May 2, 1986. Clear Fork’s participation ended following the 2011 meet.
The 33nd running of SpecTRACKular will be held at Mount Vernon’s Yellow Jacket Stadium. The whole thing kicks off with the pole vault competition at 4:30 p.m., followed by the start of field events at 5 p.m. Track events will begin around 6:30 p.m. The Most Valuable Competitors will be honored around 9 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students. All profits from the event are distributed to the athletic departments of the participating schools.