The 2011 Monett track and field season is just underway. While the Cubs and Lady Cubs are in what some would call a rebuilding phase, there is still plenty of experience returning.
"Our current team number is a little low than what I expected," said Monett Girls Coach Melanie Mayberry. "However, we have definitely have quality athletes returning."
The girls squad has several seasoned seniors returning to help with a large freshman class.
"Our seniors have a chance to make a last impression on the next generation of Monett athletes," said Mayberry. "The leadership they provide and example they set will be pivotal for the team. I have high expectations for this unit and what it can accomplish this season."
Monett has three returning state qualifiers on the girls squad: Raigan Ratliff, sophomore, Jenny Frazier, senior, and Sophie Fulton, junior.
"A successful season for us would be having every athlete reach their personal best," explained Mayberry. "A conference title would be great, but the growth of the individual athlete is most important."
The Monett boys track and field team won the Big 8 Conference last season. The Cubs lost several seniors from that team and are looking to find their identity this season.
"We have a young team with only five seniors," said Monett Head Coach Chad Depeť. "Several young guys will have opportunities to step up to the plate in varsity meets this year. That can be intimidating especially when we compete at some of our larger meets.
"Our boys understand that like everything, track is a process," added Depeť We want to focus on us and what we can do everyday to make not only ourselves but our team better."
Chris Renteria is the Cubs lone returning state quailifer.
Monett wil be counting on the his experience along with seniors Juan Renteria, Isaac Weber, Bill Townsend and Clayton Patton.
While winning is the goal of every sports team, Depeť has other goals for his squad.
"Our expectation for our student-athletes here at Monett High School is simple," explained Depeť, "First take care of business in the classroom and second go out and compete to the best of their ability at whatever event they have the privilege to represent Monett in."
Success for this team is going to be defined on an individual basis.
"A successful season for us will be having each of our athletes compete day in and day out, not just in meets, but compete against each other in practice," said Depeť, "having each of our athletes continually improve their times and distances throughout the season and performing at their peak when conference and districts meets come around."
The Cubs and Lady Cubs will be in action Thursday at Aurora. Events begin at 3:30 p.m.