Lincoln Charter track teams run for glory
Lincoln Charter’s track teams didn’t get their hopes up when they made their debut on March 8.
The Eagles’ cross country teams had enjoyed success, but until 2011 – when co-coaches Josh Williams and Logan Spake created a running club for the Eagles – few figured the school’s cross country athletes could switch into track and field easily, let alone adding first-time runners to the mix.
As it turns out, the school’s foray into track and field came at the right time. Lincoln Charter announced the school’s intent to compete at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.
“We needed something for our cross country runners (to keep up conditioning) in the off-season,” Athletics Director Jonathan Bryant said.
“Josh and Logan started the running club and we had about 50 kids combined between middle school and high school participate in it. So we figured it was time to get track started.”
Lincoln Charter, a Class 1A school of about 350 students, already fielded baseball, softball, basketball, soccer and swimming in addition to cross country. There were questions as to whether or not the Eagles had the students – and if they had an interest – to field a team.
The Eagles’ results in their first season have squelched those concerns.
“We told everybody we’d give it a shot and see what happened,” Bryant said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised.”
In an April 4 meet at Maiden High, Lincoln Charter’s track athletes showcased their skills.
The Eagles captured the girls 3,200-meter relay with 72 points. Lincoln Charter out-paced its opponents (Catawba Bandys, Valdese Draughn, West Caldwell, Maiden and Hickory Challenger) in the girls overall distance events, leading all teams with 34 points from distance races.
Mary Canipe’s time of 58 seconds was enough to capture the 300-meter hurdle individual title. Kaycee Gass (3,200-meter individual) and Christie Rhames (1,600-meter individual) finished second in events.
James Crane’s time of 5 minutes, 7 seconds earned the Eagles’ boys runner a third-place finish in the 1,600-meter race.
Crane also posted a fourth-place finish in the 800-meter race. Both results proved to be the boys team’s best of the meet.
Junior Seth Vanderwerken finished fifth in the 200-meter dash, and 10th in the 100-meter event. Vanderwerken and Crane were the only Lincoln Charter boys runners to collect top-five finishes.
The results marked a continuing trend of improving race finishes. After Lincoln Charter’s first meet that saw the Eagles solely compete in runs, the team added shot put and discus throwing to its arsenal.
Bryant said the track program’s quick expansion is evident in more than just points.
“Our kids are really dedicated to the track team, and it’s great because we’re not just a young program as far as being new,” Bryant said. “We’ve also got just a handful of seniors. The kids love running for (Spake and Williams).
“We’ve had some early successes, and we’ve got a lot to build on (as a program).”