Once track practice starts, nothing feels like work for Jarad Kimbro.
Kimbro described his boys track and field athletes as “self-motivated” and “working hard” Despite losing the team’s lone state qualifier from last season, Kimbro is eager to see what the team can accomplish this year with a fair amount of new faces looking to score points.
Gone from the team last year is All-State thrower Sam Bradbury, who is throwing at Eastern Illinois University. Headlining the early start to the season is senior Alija Mosley. In his first season, Mosley has already been challenged for ranking at the top in the high jump. With a jump of 1.70 meters, he was the runner-up at the indoor Apollo Conference meet at Mount Zion last week. Another jumper that is impressing those in the league is senior Dylan Sledge. At the Apollo, Sledge placed sixth overall with a jump of 12.01 meters.
“Alija Mosley is out for the first time and has had some success in the high jump,” said Kimbro. “He is still figuring out the technique of the high jump and if he can figure it out the sky’s the limit for him. Dylan Sledge also has had a good indoor season in the triple jump. He has put in a lot of time and effort to become a better jumper and his hard work is paying off. I anticipate that he will break 40 feet in the triple jump this year and that will score points in a lot of meets.”
Kimbro’s son, Cale, has broken out as one of the top sprinters on the team. The sophomore placed 11th at the Apollo meet with a 200-meter time of 25.13. Kimbro placed third at the Apollo Conference Championships last season and was 10th at the Tolono Sectional as a freshman.
Kimbro was also a fixture in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. Four of the five members of those relays return for the Green Wave. Deaiden Arnold, Sawyer Kirts, and Andy Karpus are all back as well and mixed and matched in those relays. Along with them, both Alija and Sledge should see time worked in as well. Mosley has clocked a 7.53 time in the 60-meter dash while Arnold has clocked a time of 7.67.
“Deaiden, Alija, and Cale all had a pretty good indoor season in the open races and are looking forward to getting outside and seeing what they can do,” said Kimbro. “Sawyer, Andy, James Moore, and Hayden Gordon have run the 4×400 with some success indoors and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of time they can put together later this season I have a great group of seniors that are helping the younger guys figure out how to practice and the expectations that come with being a student-athlete..
Karpus, Kirts, Sledge, Mosley, and Tareik Grace headline the senior sprinter core. Senior Brock Goonan headlines a young and inexperienced distance group.
Goonan ran the fastest mile time this season with a time of 5:39. Joining Goonan is junior Aiden Hudson (5:47.23), and a slew of freshmen. At the Apollo meet, five freshmen Mattoon runners ran mile times of just over six minutes.
“Our distance group is led by Brock Goonan and he has done a fantastic job of teaching the younger distance kids what it takes to be successful in distance races,” said Kimbro. “Besides Brock, we are very young and inexperienced in the distance group, but if they stick with it they have a bright future.”
The throwers are also inexperienced but have senior Zach Nelson leading the way. Sophomore Logan Samuelson placed 12th at the Apollo meet with a throw of 11.30 meters.
“We are also fairly inexperienced in the throws, but I think that they have a bright future also,” said Kimbro. “Logan Samuelson has thrown well in the shot and is looking forward to getting outside and throwing the discus. The other throwing spot is wide open with several other throwers vying for that spot.”
Among goals for the team, Kimbro is excited to see where this team progresses when competition outdoors.
“As far as goals, we are looking for improvement each meet,” said Kimbro. “The great thing about this group is that they are self-motivated and want to be good so they come to practice and work hard every day. I am excited about getting outside at the beginning of April and seeing where we are at.”