LUSK – Jim Lyons has a good feeling about this season’s boys track and field team for Niobrara County High School. As he enters his seventh season as head coach, there is a nice mix of returning athletes and some younger ones as well.
Fresh off of signing his letter of intent, senior Jasper Caldera will once again anchor the shot and discus rings. After an injury, he was cleared to participate a year ago but the coronavirus cancelled everyone’s spring seasons.
“We’re up to 16 boys I believe, so I’m not sure how that affected us,” said Lyons. “But you just don’t know what the other teams have as it’s been two years since anyone had a track meet.”
“I remember talking with Coach Lyons last year about how it sucked that March Madness was cancelled,” noted Eaton. “And then it happened to us too.”
Eaton is looking forward to improving his fourth place finish at state as a sophomore in the pole vault and Lyons expects him in some of the middle distance events as well.
“Aric does what he does as well as anyone, and I’d sure like to see him go out with an All-State award,” added Lyons.
Dylan Molzahn, Jayce Cummins, Mason Wells and Cody Taylor are the juniors on the roster and their athleticism should help balance the squad. Molzahn will be throwing again and possibly running the hurdles and some relay events. Wells is back after a two-year hiatus and should be among the top throwers once he regains his form. He is also trying to convince the coaches to let him do some of the running events. Cummins is possibly the fastest one on the squad and will be running sprints and perhaps some jumping as well.
Taylor, along with sophomore brother Collin are first timers, but Lyons is excited to see where they will fit in, in any assortment of events. Nine other newcomers are out and with a fresh blanket of snow, Monday was the first day outside. Lyons isn’t quite sure where they will all fit in but every school is in the same situation.
“We’ve got a nice mix of upperclassmen and new guys and I think that will make us competitive,” mentioned Lyons. “I do think that if a school can get some numbers out and quality, that state championship is up for grabs.”
Alongside 11th year Lady Tiger head coach Sandra Johnson (high jump/ hurdles), Ron Nelson (throws) and Chris Skeen (running events/jumpers), Lyons will work with the pole vault and sprints.
The Tigers are scheduled to open the season at Newcastle on Friday but won’t go to Morrill, Neb. on Saturday. After that, it may not be until the Wheatland Invitational on April 10 until their next meet. The Zowada Invitational is scheduled for May 1 at Fullmer Stadium.