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Winter coaches prepare teams for conference play

By Jules Micchia, student reporter, 12/11/15, 11:00AM EST

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With the start of conference play beginning, winter sports teams are reflecting on the early season and setting goals.

Winter track coach Patrick Marshall has 31 returning runners. For winter track there is no conference title or regional meet. Runners attend meets to qualify for the state meet.

“I would like to get more runners into the state meet at the end of the season and score better as a team this year,” Marshall said.

The winter track team has experienced runners as well as younger runners.

“We have a strong girls’ distance squad. We also have some good veteran sprinters on the team and a lot of young ones who will contribute this year,” Marshall said.

With an unsuccessful season last year, coach Justin Richards looks for his swimmers to improve for this year’s competition.  He’s especially looking for growth from the girls’ squad.

“The areas of strength for this team are that we have one, the best freshmen class in the last 15 years, we have year around swimmers, which is key. This is an area of brightness,” Richards said.

The swim team includes nine returning members. For the boys’ team, there are enough swimmers to have two relay teams, whereas last season there could be only one.

“Basically we are trying to get good relay times, so we can make a run for regionals,” Richards said.

In recent action, both teams defeated South East Raleigh High and East Wake High, and the girls’ team was narrowly edged by Clayton High 130 to 120 Nov. 18.

The women’s basketball team has four returning players and look to build upon their seven wins from last season. According to coach Patrick Surles, their strength is in their quickness.

“We have strong guard play as well as a great inside presence. Our real strength is playing an up tempo kind of game, pushing the ball up the court and relying on our defense to get turnovers,” Surles said.

The team is still looking for an improvement on last year’s scoring.

 

“We must become a better shooting team. We have to be patient on the offensive end and get good quality shots,” Surles said.

 

This year the wrestling team has 12 returning players out of the 32.  Coach Ed Mutio  characterized his team by saying, “We have a young team again.”

 

The team had a high finish in the Cap-8 last year.

 

“We placed third behind Leesville and Millbrook. We were a young team, only ten experienced wrestlers in total,” Mutio said.

With a limited amount of time together,  Mutio focuses on the strengths of the team.

“Our conditioning: we are also strong on the bottom, getting to our feet,” Mutio said.

With the new season fast approaching the team is looking for areas of improvement.

“Improve on our leg attacks and focus on finishing take-downs. Scoring take-downs are a key to success,” Mutio said. We shoot, we score. We need to work on our defense and staying in good position, fighting off our backs to avoid falls will be critical in tight matches.”

Boys’ basketball coach Todd Seymour, whose team is 3-3 heading into conference play against Broughton tonight, is looking forward to having his team healthy.

Junior point guard Demetrius Everett spent the early season with a broken finger. Seymour described him as being “60 percent the first couple of weeks.” The team also was reduced in number by sickness.

Seymour said the team now was, “much healthier” and that getting Everett to 100 percent was, “very important.”

Seymour said, “We feel we can beat anyone on any given night. We take everything one game at a time.”