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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Young Lady Tiger Cubs ready to impress this season

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kaitlyn Murtagh is one of the Lady Tiger Cubs main distance runners this season.
The Greencastle girls' track team has wrapped up the indoor portion of its season and things are looking good. With multiple athletes advancing to the Hoosier State Relay finals, the Tiger Cubs seem to be picking up where they left off last year.

Even with their early success, head coach Garry Anderson is always looking to improve. A large group of incoming freshmen also has Anderson excited about the upcoming season.

"We see we have some work to do, but I'm happy with the girls," Anderson said. "I'm pleased with the freshmen; we have a lot of freshmen. We have about 14 freshmen and they're going to be a good group to work with; a lot of enthusiasm there. They're very inexperienced, so we're going to have to work with them, but I see a lot of promise."

A major strength for the Tiger Cubs will be his senior group of athletes. Anderson commented that the girls have been around him so long that they know what it takes to be successful and they just do it. He also noted that there were some large holes to fill after losing some top notch talent to graduation, but Anderson is confident that the team will be fine.

"We have to fill some big shoes," Anderson acknowledged. "(Laura) Weatherford's graduated, (Jamie) Patterson's gone and (Erica) Soster's gone. We've got to fill some slots, work on some relays and get those reestablished, and I think we have enough talent to do it.

"Caitlin Gannaway, Dee Wood and Laura English are returning state finalists; it's nice to have that to work with," Anderson continued. "We have good team leadership, I have good team captains. These team captains have really kept these kids hopping and popping around the track and we had some good conditioning time. Those same leaders did a fine job for us."

In addition to the runners, Greencastle is solid in the field events as well. Anderson has Gannaway in shot put and Erika Collins and Hannah Deer in the discus, as well as Keri Good returning in the high jump. English will be anchoring the long jump squad.

Most teams would love to be in the "rebuilding" stage that Greencastle finds itself in. In addition to a strong upperclass presence, GHS had a nice crop of young talent coming up.

"We're rebuilding, so to speak. Everyone was worried about us losing the older people that we had last year, but I'm fortunate to have 40 kids out," Anderson said."With 40 kids you have some depth hopefully. We'll see what happens.

"A lot lies on the freshmen. Again, they have never pushed themselves apparently and they're learning how to race now. We have one or two that the light finally turned on and they're learning now. It's been a new program for them and to step up from the junior high to this, it's a big splash," added Anderson.

Even with the strength of the team, Anderson know that going the distance this season will be tough. With rivals ranked in top 25 during the preseason, Anderson knows that every win will be a battle.

"We have a much stronger conference," Anderson said. "Cascade has a lot of speed; Monrovia has nine seniors who are very experienced kids, so they'll be another good team to compete with. South Putnam has some new material, so they'll be good. Cloverdale has a good thrower and a couple of good hurdlers, so I know it's going to be a tough conference, much stronger than it has been the last few years.

"Sectional is going to be exceptionally strong because Brownsburg is just loaded -- overloaded- I mean, it's unreal. They have a super group of freshman. I know they're ranked in the top 20 now in the state, so they'll be good," he added.

In recent years, GHS has had a target on their back and this year will be no different. The difference will be the other teams will only be a few strides behind.

"The WCC for the first time, like I said, in a few years, they've been off and on, but this year it won't be just Greencastle and perhaps Monrovia up there, I expect Cascade, South Putnam, Cloverdale; I mean it's going to be competitive. I like that kind of stuff. That make you get better times, better distances and it really makes the kids work hard and they enjoy success," Anderson said.

With the indoor season over and the outdoor portion ready to begin, Anderson does little to hide his excitement.

"In 43 years of doing this, whether it is coaching track or wrestling, I get excited still yet. Some people call me crazy. Again, I like to watch kids improve, he said. "That's the fun part."