After a strong cross country season last fall, it figured that Riverview track coach Tom Hughes would welcome a good distance to his squad this spring. And he has.
But in addition to distance runners, Hughes found something else in his Easter basket this season – speed.
“It has been a pleasant surprise,” the veteran coach said. “Our sprinters have really come along and all of a sudden, we are kind of fast.”
That speed has helped the Bucs to four dual-meet wins and a solid fourth-place showing at the recent Marauder Invitational.
“We’ve looked good,” Hughes said. “We had been down for a couple of years but, now we are running faster, jumping farther and throwing it longer.”
Senior Dominic Wood, who quarterbacked the football team last fall, came out this year for his first season of varsity track and he is at the head of the list among Riverview sprinters.
“He is the fastest guy on our team and he took to track like a veteran,” said Hughes.
Jacob Puma and Thomas Gardner, who is finally recovered from a knee injury, are other speedsters on the squad.
The Bucs have also put together a top-flight mile relay team with Puma, junior Javon Williams and seniors Derrick Stuck and Sean Hand. Riverview won the event at the Marauder Invitational and the chance for the group to make the state-meet cut is real.
Hand, who has been one of the area’s top distance runners for a couple of seasons, has been a revelation. Some newfound footspeed as the Riverview coaches running the senior in shorter events like the mile relay the 800.
“He’s always run distance, but he is a fierce competitor and he’s stepped up,” said Hughes.
Hand and Stuck are team captains, along with senior thrower Nathan Gonzalez, who throws the shot in the 40-foot range and the discus in the 120-foot range and is a solid point-getter for the team.
The rest of the Riverview boys team is Marion Abney, Anthony Baker, Roderick Bethea, Jared Brandis, Lewis Dinero, Garrett Vineski, Logan Thomas, Ian Zdunczyk, Andrew Weimer, Mike Edwards, Luc Fluerant, Thomas Gardner, Peter Gekas, Jocob Godlewski, Scott Grunwald, Hayden Hernandez, Kenny Hightower, Brandon Igna, Julien Johnson, Connor Labadie, Kenneth Long, Josh Lavrack, Jack Lenden, Luke Lenden, William Lezotte, Trevor Taylor, Magnus Snelling, Jacob Shupe, Justin Shupe, Tommy Shook, Dylan Scott, Ethan Ruscarean, Elado Roberts, Luke Riney, Kaiser Rennals, Cody Reimer, Sam Polgar, Erick Pickell, Dylan Pappas, Austin Merling, Tyler Melcher, Justin McEnemy, Joseph Martindale, Aponoves Malachi, Brandon Maher and Rhye Lince.
= The Riverview girls are young and learning. Junior Tara Drinane is the team’s top performer and if she comes fully back from a knee injury, she will be a force in the 100 hurdles and the long jump.
= The team has just two seniors and they are leaders Kendall Dickinson and Zoe Wilgus. Both are four-year runners for coach Rick Dibrano.
= Others who will have an impact this season are Julia Klug, Alyssa Brooks, Adrianna Bahu, Grace Godlewski and Megan Reckling.
= The rest of the Riverview girls are, Olivia Laurel, Isabella Michetti, Abby Wilgus, Renee Bacon, Liberty Booth, Layla Doyle, Destiny Flores, Jordan Gadwell, Adrianna Latorre, Sydney Stepaniak, Alyssa Thuss, Brianna Brown, Keila Howard, Madelyn Jerrell, Abigail Malinowski, Erin Mcgarren, Allison Miller, Emma Small and Brooke Swan.