Guy Ellis

Grove Sun Daily

The GHS track and field team could be on the verge of one of their best ever seasons.

“I’m excited,” said GHS Track and Field Head Coach Warren Brumley. “I think this is going to be one of the better overall track teams we’ve had at Grove if we stay injury free.”

Brumley heads up the boys side of the program while Richard Bassett is in his first season as the head coach for the girls team. Bassett will be assisted by Margie Hayes and Keni Iverson.

The ’08 boys track and field team set some high marks for the ’09 troops to reach for. Last season saw the Ridgerunners claim the Regional Championship and take first place at the 5A Bishop Kelley meet — both first time feats for the program.

“It sets a precedent for the younger kids,” Brumley said of the accomplishments. “It lets them know that they can run against anybody.”

Already the ’09 team may have captured one new mark for GHS track and field.

“Combined (the boys and girls team) we may take a little over 50 kids to a track meet,” Brumley said. “I can’t ever remember us having that many kids come out for track.

“We want to have two or three kids in every event with a chance to score points,” Brumley continued. “When you can do that you’re hard to beat as a team. We haven’t had those kind of numbers (of athletes) before but it looks like we may now and that could lead to a pretty good year for us.”

Like all of the other spring sports coaches Brumley will have a few athletes join the team late because of their wrestling and basketball obligations.

“We still have about four guys in basketball and they’ll be a little behind when they join us but that’s OK,” Brumley said. “I want them to win in basketball and go on in the playoffs. That’s what it’s all about and that will help them later on.

“I like to give the guys coming in from winter sports a couple of days off at first,” Brumley added. “They need a little break before they get back on the grind.”

The pole vault is one event where the top three athletes are all coming off a long winter sporting season but few expect that to hamper their results. Senior Dusty Gehrke is a three-time defending state champion in the competition. Senior Jack Johnson and junior Zach Housley are both returning state qualifiers in the vault.

“We’re looking forward to big things out of him,” Brumley said of Gehrke. “He’s signed with ORU. They have one of the nation’s best pole vaulting coaches in Joe Dial. He’s a former world record holder in the pole vault and still holds the Oklahoma high school record.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some meets where we go 1-2-3 in the vault,” Brumley said.

Coach Dustin Crowder works with the vaulters and has built a solid program in the junior high level as well.

“The other day Dusty was down there helping Coach Crowder with the junior high kids,” Brumley said. “It’s good because those kids look up to the older guys. It helps the program and I appreciate it a lot.”

Coach Ron Culwell works with the field events and has some returning talent in the disc.

“Weston Culvey (a junior) is coming back on the disc and he did pretty well last year,” Brumley said.

Joining Culvey will be Sean Hayward and freshman Tyler Graham. Brumley is also lobbying to get one more athlete in the event.

“I’m hoping we can get Ryan Miller (a senior) to come over and do disc when basketball ends,” Brumley said. “I think that with his height and physicality that- if he gets the form right- he can toss that disc a long way.”

Last season the Ridgerunner mile relay team set a new school record and finished third at the state meet. Brumley sees another strong team forming for ’09.

“We have Dusty (Gehrke) and Joseph Craven coming back,” Brumley said about the mile team. “I’ve got some guys that I think are going to step up to fill the other two spots. Cody Medeiros will be here when basketball ends and he was our alternate on the team last year. I think he can come in and run a great leg for us.

“I got a big surprise when Corey Davenport came out for track,” Brumley said. “He’s going to run while his shoulder heals from a surgery he had a few months ago. By the end of March he’ll hopefully be able to run at full speed. I told him that we’d find him a place somewhere on the track team. I know he can run.

“We’ll have a good mile relay team and our two mile relay will be better this year,” Brumley added.

The two mile team features three returning starters with Medeiros, Craven and Dusty Baker.

“We’ve got four or five guys that are itching to fill that spot on the two mile relay,” Brumley said.

“Wednesday and Thursday of this week we’re going to line up and run 100, 200, 400, and 800 (meters) and we’re going to find out who is on the relay teams for our first track meet,” Brumley said.

The Ridgerunners also look strong in the long distance events with two returning starters.

Senior Justin Falley is an All State cross country runner who had a solid ’08 campaign and he will be joined by Caleb White.

“Caleb is back with us this year after getting hurt last year,” Brumley said. “I think he and Justin are going to be really tight when it comes to race time. They are going to be able to help each other and push each other.”

The new season looks promising on many fronts for the Ridgerunners.

“All the kids are working hard,” Brumley said. “We lift three days a week, we do pool work; the kids are hard workers.