The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 16, 2013

Boys track team young at Galena

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— Dennis Outt, as head track coach at Galena High School, is accustomed to having athletes who resemble a stable of racehorses.

The difference this year is his stable is mostly full of colts.

The Bulldogs head into this season with an abundance of youthful enthusiam, but few have yet to be proven as top performers. An exception is Jared Carver, a senior whose season in the 300-meter hurdles was cut short last year because of an injury.

“He ran really well until he pulled a quad (quadriceps) at the end of the year,” Outt said.

Another bright spot is sophomore J.C. Pugsley in the long jump.

“He’s filling the shoes of Tylor Albright,” Outt said. Albright won the long jump and qualified in the 100 meters and triple jump at the 2012 Class 3A state meet.

“As a freshman, he actually jumped farther than Tylor Albright did as a freshman,” he said. “He’s not quite there yet in the triple jump.”

After that, Galena has two juniors and a sizable number of freshmen and sophomores.

“I have some young throwers who have spent a lot of time in the weight room,” Outt said, including Kyle Wilkins, who played baseball last spring.

Galena’s girls have the benefit of leadership from four seniors — Shantell Barker in the shot put and discus, Marissa Blevins in the pole vault, triple jump and relays, Shelby Meinert in the hurdles, 4x400 relay and possibly the 800, and Rhiann Shepherd in the sprints and long jump.

Meinert was a state qualifier in the 300 hurdles last year.

“We have a good nucleus of upperclass girls,” Outt said.

Jessica Henson, a state finalist in the 100 meters last year as a freshman, will help in the sprints and relays. She was a state qualifier in the 200 and ran on Galena’s 4x100 relay at the state meet.

Galena’s season begins March 28 with the Galena Invitational, a gathering of 14 teams from Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.