Altoona-Midway athletes anxious to begin spring sports
Spring is in the air. And very soon, so will be softballs, javelins, hurdlers and the like as the spring sports programs get under way at Altoona-Midway Unified School District 387.
Athletes from three spring sports programs have been hard at work practicing and are scheduled for their first events in the very near future. There will be track programs for both middle school and high school students at Altoona-Midway, and AMHS plans to resume a softball program for the first time in a while.
Here is a quick look at each program:
Randy Almond is the head coach for the Lady Jets softball team, which is scheduled to open its season Monday, March 28, at Uniontown.
“Practices are going well, and the girls are getting better every day,” Almond said. “Unfortunately, we will probably go into our first game Monday without having been able to practice outside on the field. We’ve been inside the entire time so far due to the weather.”
The Lady Jets will have to stay healthy and injury free, as currently there are only nine girls on the squad.
“We’re working on trying to get a couple more to come out,” Almond said.
Presently, the nine-member AMHS softball squad includes: Seniors – Mariah Stackhouse and Alyssa Relph. Juniors – Kyra O’Connor. Sophomores – Summer Raymond and Julia Hall. Freshmen – Autumn Raymond, Emmalynn Pupanek, Sophia Dannels, and Jyl Davis.
“Summer Raymond appears to be the best pitching prospect at this point,” Almond said. “But also working in the circle at practice have been Autumn, Mariah and Emmalynn.”
In addition to Monday’s game at Uniontown, the Lady Jets are also slated to travel to Oswego on Thursday this week.
Tonia Raymond is serving as assistant coach.
Almond added, “My goals for the year are: 1) To be able to field a team 2) Improve as the season progresses 3) Have fun. Everything thing else above that would be great.”
Only five Altoona-Midway High School students decided to participate in track this spring – but all five are strong athletes and very hard workers.
Senior Mariah Stackhouse is the lone returning letterman for the AMHS thinclads. She will be joined on the girls’ track squad by freshman Emmalynn Pupanek.
“Mariah improved steadily in the javelin last year, and I expect her to continue to work hard and improve even more this year,” AMHS coach Lane Huffman said of his lone returning letterman.
Making up the trio of Jet boys’ tracksters this spring are junior Harley Lopeman and freshmen Kieran Foster and William Stackhouse.
Huffman, entering his second season as head track coach at Altoona-Midway, said the group has been putting in the work since beginning practice the Monday prior to spring break.
“This group works hard. We have been focusing on conditioning and spending time in the weight room the first few weeks,” Huffman said.
“I expect us to take the approach of just using each day to get better,” Huffman added. “Not only are they going to try to use this time to become better at their chosen events, they are going to use this track season to become more well-rounded athletes.
“I am super proud of the five individuals that came out for track. I have high expectations, and know they will push forward to excel.”
Altoona-Midway is scheduled to open the 2022 track season Tuesday, April 5, at the Oswego Invitational.
Chary Weilert begins her fourth year helping with the AMMS track program, and her second year as head coach – or third, depending on how you look at it.
“It really is my third year as head coach, but Covid cancelled out the first year,” Weilert said.
The middle school track squad is slated to open its spring season Thursday, March 31, when they participate in the Humboldt Invitational.
Weilert and assistant coach Nikki Almond are working with a total of 14 athletes this spring – six boys and eight girls.
“I've been talking with middle school students all winter about track, trying to recruit more of them to come out and give track a try,” Weilert said. “I was hoping for a few more out, but we’re up to 14 from eight a year ago. I am looking forward to successful meets.”
Included in that group are five returnees with middle school track experience: Kage Beck, Kyler Nalley, and Braxton Witttlake, all 8th grade boys; while 8th grader Eryn Tiger and 7th grader Peyton Drake return on the girls’ side.
“Braxton, Kage and Eryn were pretty consistently placing in the top six last year, earning the team some much appreciated points. I am also looking forward to seeing how Kyler performs this year, as he has been one of the hardest workers in practices,” Weilert said. (All four placed in the Mineral Belt League Meet a year ago) “Peyton was only a sixth grader last year, so I'm also excited to see how she performs in jumps and sprints. As a returning 7th grader, she has gained more strength and endurance and is very light-footed.”
Weilert was also excited to see eighth grader Abigail Relph make the switch from track manager to athlete this year.
“Abby is quick and has some spring in her step, so she will be focusing on high jump, long jump, and sprints,” Weilert noted. “The 7th and 6th grade girls are hard workers and all of them are anxious, yet nervous, to compete. With the larger numbers, we will be able to fill the relay events which should help earn points for the overall team placings.”
Here is the complete roster for AMMS track:
AMMS Boys: Eighth graders Kage Beck, Kyler Nalley, Braxton Wittlake; seventh grader Taj O’Connor; sixth graders Chance Carter, Chance Mustain.
AMMS Girls: Eighth graders Abigail Relph, Eryn Tiger; seventh graders Peyton Drake, Ada Hufford, Harmony McFarland, Mika Parsons; sixth graders Sandra Morales, Hadlee Pupanek.