BELPRE - Going into today's 4 p.m. Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division championship track meet at Vinton County, ''all of our people are right where we need them to be,'' said Belpre boys head coach Chris Palmer about the Golden Eagle track team. ''They're performing at their best toward the end of the year, so we're happy to see that happening.''
Starting this year, the TVC decided to hold two separate league meets, one for each of its divisions - Ohio (bigger schools) and Hocking (smaller schools), then have the top four placers from each event in both meets compete in a TVC Meet of Champions next Wednesday at Nelsonvillle-York.
Nevertheless, the Golden Eagles have fared extremely well lately in TVC title meets, with the Belpre boys having captured the Hocking crown the last two years and were runners-up the year before that, while the girls have finished in the top three teams the last four or five years as well. ''So we've had a lot of success recently in the league meets,'' said Palmer.
Leading the Belpre boys contingent today will be a freshman, Cray Sistrunk, and a senior, Dakota Hoffman.
Sistrunk ''has really exceeded our expectations this year, and really performed well in the mile, 800, 4 by 800 relay and two mile,'' said Palmer. ''And (sophomore) Kyle Windland been a strong runner for us in the same events.''
Hoffman, the returning TVC Hocking boys high-point performer as well as state long-jump qualifier last year, will compete today in the LJ, 300 intermediate and 110 high hurdle events, and 400. ''(Soph) Sam Petty's had a real good year in both our 4 by 100 and 4 by 200 (relays), and the 100 and 200,'' said Palmer.
''(Senior) Bryce Pittenger is doing well in the pole vault and another freshman, Matt Colvin, is doing really well too in three of our relays and the 400.''
For the Golden Eagle girls, Palmer is looking for junior Taryn Carr ''to do well'' in both hurdles (100 and 300) today. ''But all of our upperclassmen, girls and boys, are stepping up, although I know I'm forgetting some other people.''
After the TVC meets, then comes district and regional competition for Belpre, ''Last year,'' Palmer noted, ''we had 18 events in the regional filled with our athletes. Of course, we'd always like to go to the state track meet at Ohio State in June. And I think the last seven years now, we've had at least one, and sometimes more, of our people go to state.''