Armed with underclassmen, the Holy Trinity track and field team is ready to make some noise now … and in the future.
“We’ve got a pretty well-rounded, strong girls team that is very young,” Tigers coach Marc Bailey said. “Every single girl that will qualify for state this year is an underclassman. They’ll all come back. So, the girls program is very strong for the next two years.
“The boys program is pretty strong itself. We have three of the top hurdlers in the state.”
Freshman Jaeden McMillan (15.11) ranks second in Class 1A in the 110 hurdles. Junior Jaylen Ballard (15.22) is tied for third and freshman Camryn McRoy (15.50) is seventh.
There’s plenty of talent around the rest of the program, too. Junior Maya Collins ran a personal best 11.83 in the 100 and junior Alinah Sarratt (15.16) is sixth in the 100 hurdles.
“It’s been really good. It’s been fun,” distance runner Skyler Jensen said of the season so far. “Each week, we see improvement, a lot of PRs from both sprinters and distance runners as well as field events. We’re looking good going into the state series.”
All three girls relay teams are expected to reach state, but the boys 4x800 relay (8:19.78) could really do something special this season and then be even better in 2024. Augustine Stehley, Luke Thomas, Jensen and Zack Gunderson are currently ranked third in the state.
“I’m really excited for that,” Jensen said. “We have two sophomores — Zack and I. Augustine is a junior. Luke is a freshman. So, we have everyone returning. If we keep getting better, it should be exciting.”
Jensen would like to run a sub-4:30 in the 1,600 and a sub 9:45 in the 3,200 meters in the state meet as well. He will also be running on the 4x400 relay.
“The strength of our boys team is our distance crew and he’s the leader of that crew,” Bailey said of Jensen.
Another reason to get excited about the Holy Trinity track program is in the girls field events where junior Evelyn VanZwieten stands out. She ranks first in the state in the discus (37.92 meters), second in the javelin (40.67 meters) and eighth in the shot put (11.16 meters).
“It’s been pretty good,” VanZwieten said of her season. “I’ve been trying to work on javelin. That’s the one I really want to do in college.”
VanZwieten, who led Class 1A in the javelin until just recently, said she wants to stay consistent and throw in the 40-meter range at the state meet, while also hitting 38 meters in the discus and 11 in the shot.
Her success in all three throwing events has led the Tigers to lay out some incredible plans for her at the upcoming regionals, which are set for May 6, at Mount Dora Christian with the state meet on May 17, at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville.
“Evelyn could be the first girl to do what we’re trying to pull off,” Bailey said. “She could be in the top three in all three throws. It’s unheard of for a girl to go to state in all three throwing events because logistically, you can’t do it. They overlap, they run into each other. But we’re going to try to pull it off this year.”