Bulldogs are off and running

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  • A group of distance runners stride out on the track last week over spring break. (Daniel McKay photos/Whitefish Pilot)

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    Whitefish Track and Field coach Scott Smith works with hurdlers during a spring break practice last week.

  • A group of distance runners stride out on the track last week over spring break. (Daniel McKay photos/Whitefish Pilot)

  • 1

    Whitefish Track and Field coach Scott Smith works with hurdlers during a spring break practice last week.

Half the track is still covered in snow, but the starting gun has sounded for the Bulldog track and field team.

The team started practice March 12 and was set for their first meet at Flathead on Tuesday after presstime.

Head coach Derek Schulz said the dual is a good way to get the season started.

“It’s kind of a low key meet to get our feet wet,” he said. “It’s just mostly for our newcomer kids, kids who haven’t kind of been there and done that. It gives us a chance to get out there and compete against another school.”

Schulz says he has a strong group of about 50 boys and 35 girls on his team this year.

For the girls, Lauren Schulz is leading the way after last year’s stellar season.

She capped off the year at the state meet with a second in the 200, a fourth in the 100 and a fourth in the 400.

Schulz’s sprinting is evened out by strong athletes in the distance events, like Ella Greenberg, who qualified for state last season in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

Lee Walburn is expected to have another big season for the boys as well.

Last year Walburn finished sixth at state in the long jump and fourth in the 300 hurdles at divisionals.

“It’s a really good mixture of some returners that have been competitive at the divisional and state level and a really good group of newcomers that are either freshmen or new to the sport. So that’s always exciting,” coach Schulz said.

“We’re looking to have strong relays, cover all the events and just improve so we can find out if we can fill in any gaps and be competitive.”

Following the Flathead meet, the team will head down to Frenchtown on Saturday.

Next Tuesday they’ll be back at Legends Stadium for the Flathead Time Trials.

Schulz said his team is hoping to hit the ground running early on, but his priorities always lie on the end of the season.

“Our goals are always the same. Early on, it’s just to get more fit and get in that pattern of improving every day and every meet. Then our goal is always to place high at divisionals and be very competitive at state,” he said. “We don’t know where we’re at right now, but we do know enough to be excited about competing at the divisional level. And we’ll just have to wait and see for state.”

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