After a Hoosier Crossroads Conference championship, a runner-up finish in the sectional, a third place finish in the regional and a solid showing in the state meet, the Zionsville boys track team is ready for an encore.

The 2010 edition has already begun indoor competition and has its eyes set on remaining one of the best programs in the state once the outdoor season gets underway. More than 90 athletes have already joined, up from 74 a year ago, and the Eagles are primed for another solid season.

Leading the way is junior Shane Mikesky, who placed in three events at the state meet last season and was a regional champion in the 300 hurdles and on the 4x400 relay team.

“We return three athletes that placed in the state meet last year with Mikesky and both Ryan Dickson and Austin Stauffer, who were on that 4x400 relay team,” Zionsville coach Gabe Porras said. “That relay team won its sectional, regional and the conference meet and we expect big things out of them again this year. We feel that we had a great group of seniors last year that will be missed, but there is a great work ethic here and I feel good with this group.”

Stauffer and Dickson will both participate in sprint events along with Jalen Jones and Justin Dunn. Jones was a fourth-place finisher in the 200 in the sectional as a sophomore and is expected to compete in multiple sprint events.

Porras expects bigger things out of his distance runners this season thanks to a strong cross country campaign. The Eagles cross country team placed seventh in the state this past fall and several runners are expected to contribute at the distance positions. Samuel Berger, a sophomore, was Zionsville’s highest finisher in the state cross country meet. David Snyder, Zan Siddiqi and Graham Bixler also finished in the top 80 at the state cross country meet, so they will also factor into the distance events.

“We are facing a competitive schedule this season. That is by design because we want to go against some good schools so we can show improvement as the season progresses,” said Porras. “We expect to compete hard and advance a lot of guys in the state tournament. We won our conference last year and it is a very tough conference to win. With the way we have worked in the offseason, we have the potential to do some nice things as long as we keep working.”

Zionsville also has plenty of returning experience in the field events. Alex Woodard is a school record holder in the long jump and just missed qualifying for the state meet a year ago. He placed fourth in the sectional and he may also compete in the 100 and 4x100 relay. Caleb Reiff is also a school record holder in the discus that will return for his junior season.

“We like facing teams like Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern regularly because we then have a good idea of everyone’s strengths when it comes to the conference meet and sectionals,” Porras said. “It helps us be as prepared as we can be. We already have a good indoor meet scheduled this weekend and we’re looking forward to seeing where we are at right now.”

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