Jays boast potential
Coach Ken Gardner can see the potential with his Jamestown boys track and field team.
The Blue Jays return a pair of state placers in Nolan Love and Taylor Orr, as well as two speedsters in Layne and Brady Carlson to this year’s squad. Jamestown opens its outdoor season today at a meet in Aberdeen, S.D.
Love won the javelin competition at the West Region meet as a freshman, before placing eighth at state. The sophomore returns with a chance to prove himself as one of the best in the state. The only returning javelin throwers inside the state’s top eight are Love and fourth-place finisher Tyler Rudolph of Bismarck Century.
“He’s already taller and stronger,” said Gardner, also admitting that Love has had limited practice this spring because of weather. “It’s hard to tell exactly where he’s at. It’s one of those things that’s a little more predictable with guys, as far as that extra year of strength and maturity. Usually, you see that progression.”
Orr, an all-state tailback on the football team, returns after taking seventh in the 110-meter hurdles last season. Four graduate in front of him, making him a top-three returner in his senior year.
“The biggest thing for him is he’s got that experience and that knowledge now,” Gardner said. “He hadn’t been in track since middle school and it took him most of the (season) to get back in the swing of things and get a feel for those hurdles. He really started coming on the last couple weeks of (last) season.”
Layne Carlson, a junior, and Brady Carlson, a sophomore, helped the 800 relay team finish seventh. Gardner said he expects both runners to help strengthen relays again this season, also counting on relay contributions from sophomores Ben Hanson and Dylan Koenig.
The Jamestown girls already opened with a record-breaking performance at an indoor meet last week in Fargo.
McKayla Orr, Kylee Voigt, Madison Barnes and Erin Hillerud combined to break the school mark in the 800 relay, a record that stood for 34 years.
All four are looking for a strong season this spring, as is Jenna Stilwell back from injury. Stilwell was sixth in the triple jump and was a state qualifier in the long jump and triple jump.
“She hasn’t thrown yet because of a shoulder injury, but she’s doing well with the long jump and triple jump,” first-year coach Rob Hummel said.
Orr is the most decorated of the Blue Jays, finishing as the state’s runner-up in the 300 hurdles, fourth in the 100 hurdles and seventh in the 100. She was also a leg on the fifth-place 1,600 relay.
In addition to the mile relay, Voigt and Barnes both ran on the 400 and 800 relay, which took fourth and eighth, respectively.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached
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