By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Defending Class 4 district track and field champion Webb City will be counting on its distance runners to keep up the pace as the Cardinals prepare for the upcoming season.
The Cardinals relied on sprinters and jumpers for the bulk of their points last season, but losses due to graduation and other factors have left Webb City head coach Mike Smith looking for help elsewhere.
“We have tons of holes to fill from last year’s team,” Smith said. “You lose two guys (Jarvis Jones and Alex Christian) who are 15-time all-staters, those are tough shoes to fill.”
The Cardinals’ 4x800-meter relay team returns intact with sophomores Trent Parra and Chris Cooper and seniors Cole Corlett and Andrew Burr. Challenging for a spot on the team is sophomore Omar Perez.
Their improvement spilled over into the district cross country meet last fall, where Burr qualified for the sectional and Perez narrowly missed by placing 37th.
“Our distance guys have worked really hard,” Smith said. “Omar Perez really had a good cross country season. That would be the shining thing so far. Our distance kids are fighting each other for a spot.”
Another bright spot is the pole vault, where Alec Harmell returns for his senior season.
“He has had a great offseason,” Smith said. “At an indoor practice, he has been over 14 feet already. He has really worked hard and it’s really paying off.”
Other key returnees for Webb City include Logan Williams, who placed second at the district meet in the 110 and 300 hurdles and qualified for the state meet in the 300.
“Logan Williams is back, stronger than ever, and will probably have to run some relays as well,” Smith said.
Cooper Smith, a senior, Trey Parra, a junior, and sophomore Kiante Hardin also figure into the mix, Smith said.
Three members of the Cardinals’ 4x400 relay — Trey Parra, Hardin and Williams — return on a unit that placed third at the district meet a year ago.