Mustangs run with small numbers and high hopes

The 2021 Marion County Mustangs track and field team posed for a team photo at Marion County High School.

PHILADELPHIA, Mo. — After missing out on last season, the Marion County track and field team has returned to action in 2021 with its student-athletes excited to be back out competing.

Marion County head coach Randi Lee Clayton and her team has already competed in a couple of meets this season and is grateful for the opportunity to shine this season.

“Although missing last season was a bummer and caused some slight setbacks in times and distances for sure, I am seeing that each of my athletes has a stronger determination for success,” Clayton said. “We are so grateful to be competing this spring and each of my athletes is working hard to achieve their goals.”

The Mustangs will look to its two seniors for leadership on the boys side, Landen Holt and Morgan Oles. The girls team does not have any seniors, but will look to juniors Halle Keilholz and Delaney Straus for leadership.

Clayton had the team working on improving its conditioning in the preseason practices.

“With the season just underway, we are slowly starting to dial back on the hills and abilities we do during conditioning and starting to focus on conditioning in meets more,” Clayton said.

Marion County will look to Straus to compete in long and mid-distance races for the girls side, and possibly compete in some shorter distance races. Root Cheney will be the sole sprinter for the boys team.

Keilholz is the only returning hurdler for Marion County, and she will compete in the girls 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles.

Marion County will count on Keilholz and Straus to compete in the girls long jump. Cheney and Holt to compete in the boys jumping events.

Clayton said there is a third girls who will compete in the jumping events.

“Sophomore Tristen Holt had success in the high jump two years ago in junior high,” Clayton said. “I look forward to watching her grow as a high jumper this year and expect big things.”

Freshman Shayleigh Whetstone will compete in both the girls shot put and discus. Oles will compete in the boys shot put and discus, while freshman Andrew Gerding will compete in the discus.

Marion County has a small team that mainly competes in individual events.

“With only eight athletes between the two teams, there isn’t a whole lot of competition to compete in certain events,” Clayton said. “However, the athletes push each other to improve each practice.”

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