By Rob Tetro
The Fulton girls’ varsity track and field team for 2014 is looking to improve this season and Coach Gary LaGrou wants all of its athletes to be ready to contribute from the start.
He also wants the Lady Raiders to improve their times and distances and become an even more challenging opponent. His hope is to have athletes competing in some of the season ending events such as Sectional and state Qualifying Meets.
This season, Fulton has the tough task of replacing 12 seniors from last year’s team.
Led by just a few seniors, the Lady Raiders are expected to be an inexperienced team in 2014. LaGrou said the younger athletes on the team come with a lot of potential.
With most of its players competing on the varsity indoor track team this winter, Fulton was in pretty good physical condition when practices began in early March.
LaGrou said the team worked hard to develop its endurance during the first few days of practice. He said it’s important for his athletes to be on pace to be in their best physical condition during the mid to late portion of the season with the hope of being even more successful down the stretch.
LaGrou said his team still has adjustments to make, especially when it comes to competing outdoors. The climate has kept Fulton’s preparation mostly indoors.
Instead of naming captains formally, LaGrou usually allows senior athletes for each event to serve as leadership figures. He hopes his senior athletes will be a source of encouragement for younger athletes in their events.
LaGrou said Fulton will be challenged in almost every meet this season.
The Lady Raiders traveled to Cortland April 9 for a double dual meet against Cortland and Fowler. On April 16, Fulton will host a double dual meet against Chittenango and Jamesville-DeWitt and then have a double dual meet against Mexico and Homer April 30 at Mexico.
This season, Fulton will have to replace a few distance runners lost to graduation. However, the Lady Raiders will still have a number of strengths.
LaGrou said there are many impressive younger distance runners joining the team, making Fulton stronger in distance events this season.
LaGrou said the younger hurdlers who joined the team have lot of potential. The Lady Raiders are expected to have a new high jumper at one point in the season. Now, she is recovering from an injury.
LaGrou said his team will feature a few throwers from last year’s team. He’s hopeful his throwers can build off of the experiences they had last season.
Fulton will also welcome Jessica Race back to the team at shotput following a brief hiatus. What excites LaGrou the most is the number of athletes he has and working to help all of these athletes contribute to give the team more depth for every event of a meet this season.