By David Seeley
PDN Sports Editor
Last year, the Poteau High School track teams put on more of a practice meet when they had the Poteau Invitational. Not so this year.
There will be approximately 20 boys and 20 girls teams coming to town for today's meet, which will begin at 1 p.m. this afternoon at Costner Stadium.
“This will be the first time in a long time that we've actually put on a true meet,” Poteau Girls Coach Billy Bond said. “We had a little practice one last year. We're ready to take on some teams from down south so we can see what they've got. We just hope our girls are up to the challenge.”
“We expect at least 20 teams,” Poteau Boys Coach Tim Hall said. “(Today's) weather looks really good.”
Of course, being the host school means a lot of work.
“We're trying to get a camera set up, but we're going to hand time the events and use the camera as a back-up,” Hall said. “It takes a lot of people to get a home meet set up, and it takes a lot of work, but we're looking forward to it.”
By being at home, there will be an edge for the Poteau athletes.
“We're familiar with our course,” Bond said. “We know what our times need to be on this course. I think our younger kids will feel more at ease running on their own course. I think we were a little intimidated when we went to Hilldale. I think we're going to be more confident being at home.”
“We practice on our track,” Hall said. “That's a huge advantage for us to run here in Poteau. We're very excited about that.”
Counting Friday's Hilldale Invitational in Muskogee and today's meet, the Poteau teams will now have seen most of the competition they'll face at the Class 4A Regional Meet later this month.
“We're going to have about 20 boys and 20 girls teams coming,” Bond said. “We're now going to get to see some teams from down south. We saw some teams from up north, like Vinita, when we went to Hilldale on Friday. We're going to get some good ideas of what we're going to be facing at regionals.”
Since there's only one more meet left for the Poteau tracksters, not only are they trying to win their respective individual and relay events, but they are trying to get themselves into prime form for the regional and state meets.
“We're getting close to setting our relays,” Bond said. “Our kids are trying to get to their max times.”
“Our sprinter who went to state last year, Jesse Woodson, is running very well right now,” Hall said. “He ran a 10.67 (seconds) in the 100-meter dash — and he broke the school record in the 200-meter dash. Dakota Clark broke the school record in the 110-meter hurdles, and he's looking good right now. His time is coming down — it's down to 15.03. Our shot putter, Trevor Shankle, has thrown a 46 (feet). We've got three kids who are performing very well right now. Nico Hall in the two-mile (3,200-meter) run would be a fourth one. They're all coming together at the right time of the year for us.”
Heavener and Spiro are expected to be among the local teams besides Poteau in today's meet.
Editor's Note — Look for stories on the Checotah Invitational and Hilldale Invitational in later editions of The Poteau Daily News.