Back on track
Sheridan athletes excel in track meet
Sheridan track and fielders bounced back after a missed year of competition at the Frenchtown track and field meet on April 9. Unlike many early meets, where snow and wind greet competitors, the day of competition was held on a beautiful Montana spring day. It was a warm welcome for the athletes who had an unexpected year off last season.
The 2021 Sheridan track and field team has varsity athletes representing each grade, including three students each in freshmen, sophomore and senior years. Five juniors round out the team.
Head Coach Shawn Regnerus noted that while his juniors may be upperclassmen, they’re technically more like underclassmen since last season never happened. The freshmen and sophomores on the team have never competed at the high school level, either. “It’s very much a learning year for everybody,” said Coach Regnerus, who said it’s been tough to gauge his team’s potential, as well as their competitors’ skill, after a missed year.
“It’s almost like losing two years of seniors and two years of freshmen coming in.”
There are some indicators of this season’s success, though. Four of his returning athletes made it to Divisionals two years ago including two throwers – Faith Larsen and Caitlyn Galiger – who did so as freshmen. Coach Regnerus said he expects good things from those two.
Senior Hartsen VanHouten made it to state two years ago for his vaulting prowess, and senior Luke Dvorak made it to the state competition that year as well to compete in the two mile race.
With the State FFA Convention scheduled at the same time, only five members of the Sheridan team made it to the first meet of the year on April 9. Of those that attended, several competitors stood out including VanHouten who won the vault portion of the competition, landing only six inches less than his best-ever vault from back in his sophomore year.
“Which was great, since there were a number of A and B schools there,” said Coach Regnerus, who estimated about 20 teams were in attendance. “The competition at that meet is almost as strong as what we’ll see at State.”
Despite some of the lost season hurdles, Coach Regnerus said his team has forged on, and they’re excited to be back on the field. “I’m just excited that we’re able to compete this year,” he said. “Because two, three months ago that wasn’t at all a for sure thing.”
Regnerus said he’s also looking forward to having a full roster at the next meet, and is hopeful they’ll get in a full schedule this season if, fingers crossed, the spring weather cooperates. The Panthers’ next meet is hosted by Townsend at East Helena on April 17.