The Louisa County High School indoor track team geared up to start their season with a smaller roster than in years past.
“We lost some strong people [last year] and our numbers are down because of COVID,” said head coach Jerry Cutright. “We have about half [the number of athletes] we normally have.”
Low numbers aren’t just an issue in Louisa, but for track teams across the region. Even so, Cutright’s main focus is making sure the team does the best it can this year.
“We just want to get in there and have a good season and give these kids a chance to run and move on to the next level,” he said.
The Lions lost a series of strong competitors to graduation last year, including state champion triple jumper Isaac Haywood and hurdler Dahja Price, both of whom now compete for the Norfolk State University Spartans. Distance runner Bowen Varney and short-track runner Sophie Karney also joined college teams, with Varney racing for Bridgewater College and Karney at Missouri State University.
The Lions return a number of distance runners on both the boys’ and girls’ squads this season. Branden Wood and Nicholas Emmert have been among the top competitors for the boys’ team for the past several seasons and Cutright looks for them to continue to be strong assets this year. On the girls’ team, Maeve Myers and Kennedy Harris bring experience to the team’s distance races.
“I’m glad to be back,” Myers said. “It’s been since March since we were last able to compete, so it’s really nice to be back with the team.”
Also returning this year are short-track runner Robert Brown, state-qualifying jumper Dezmajia Carter, and Alicia Woodfolk in shot put and discus. Cutright said Woodfolk has made great improvements since last season.
The team also boasts a large amount of new talent, especially in short-distance events. As they approach their first competition this weekend, everyone is on track and ready to compete.
“I feel good, even though we don’t have a lot of people,” Woodfolk said. “Everybody’s training hard and working hard. We’ll do fine.”
Louisa hosted Powhatan High School for their season opener on Jan. 9.