POWERS - The North Central boys' track team appears to have enough numbers to be competitive this season.
Now, it's a matter of gaining experience for a majority of its 30 athletes.
The Jets, comprised mainly of underclassmen, begin that process in today's Superior Central Invitational at Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome.
"Everybody is working hard," said coach Jerry Root. "We don't have many upperclassmen, but all the kids will give a good effort. We're looking forward to the Dome meet. We would like to get a true read on where the people fit into the puzzle. This should sort of set a baseline of where we need to improve. Although, we mostly want to see the kids compete."
The Jets have four seniors, including Austin Gatien in the sprints, Logan Martin (hurdles, 1600-meter relay and high jump), Dyllion Hancheck (middle distance and relays) and Andy Kleiman (weight events).
Hancheck and juniors Josh Granquist and Eric Prestay are team captains. Granquist is entered in the middle distances and long jump, with Prestay in the weight events and 400 relay.
April 18 - at Marquette (Superior Dome); April 23 - at Stephenson; April 27 - at Pickford; April 30 - CUP meet at Mid Peninsula.
May 3 - at Stephenson; May 6 - at Norway; May 9 - at Rapid River; May 14 - at Bark River-Harris; May 16 - D-3 regional at Rapid River; May 22 - jayvees at Bark River-Harris; May 24 - Skyline Conference at North Dickinson; May 28 - jayvees at Norway.
June 1 - U.P. Finals at Kingsford.
"All four of our seniors are definitely going to play a role," said Root. "We're also depending a lot on our captains. With just one coach, we have to count on them for leadership. We have to trust them to lead the others in doing the things that are assigned."
Remaining juniors are Joe Mahoney (weight events), Travis Vincent (long jump and sprint relays) and sprinter Tyler Polfus, who also plays on the school's golf team and won't be available until mid-season.
Leading sophomores are Rob Granquist (sprints and discus), Devin Wodraska (sprints and long jump), Tristan Harper (sprints) and Dillon Robinson (distance).
Promising freshmen include Mikael Young (hurdles and relays), Damon Labre (hurdles and weight events), Bryce Holle (middle distance) and Caleb Martin (high jump).
"We're very big into the freshman/sophomore end of things," said Root. "I've been pleased with the work ethic. I'm optimistic we'll be much improved over last year."
Numbers are much lower for the girls, who have 14 on their team.
Five are seniors, including Sydney Campbell (high jump), Lexi Cryderman (pole vault), Siena LaBonte (weight events), Clare Kell and Amanda Schultz, a transfer from Carney-Nadeau, in the distances.
Remaining upperclassmen are juniors Kasey Gagnon (sprints) and Morgan Wells (sprints and long), who missed last season due to ankle problems.
"Sydney was a good high jumper last year and Morgan works hard in practice," said coach Mike Hammer. "We'll count on both of them to keep everybody moving. Amanda and Lexi are very vocal and energetic. As long as everybody works hard, I think we'll be okay."
Sophomore hopefuls are Baylee Wells (high jump and discus), Sam Cryderman (pole vault), Kayla Arkens (300 hurdles and sprint relays), Laura Gogolewski (sprints) and Linzie Gagnon, who's battling leg problems.
Freshmen include Jaycee Faccio (hurdles and shot put) and Shelby Hoffart (middle distance).
"The girls are working together and training hard," said Hammer. "It would be nice to get out on a track (in practice). Bark River-Harris has been so gracious in letting us use their track. We want to get some of these girls experience and see where the more experienced kids are at right now."