Panther track teams eager for outdoor action

BALDWIN — Weather permitting, Baldwin’s boys and girls track teams will begin their schedules this week with a west Michigan D jamboree on Wednesday followed by the Mid-Michigan meet at Marion on Thursday.

Coach Robert Watkins isn’t sure what kind of performances his athletes will be putting together in upcoming meets. But he is looking at Alex Torres for the girls and Aaron Thomas for the boys to be among the team’s top performers this season.

“We’ve been outside every day except for (Tuesday),” Watkins said.

Torres, a junior, will be in the 100-meter dash and long jump. She has scored points in those events in the past.

“I’ll just be trying to win,” she said. “We’ve been able to go outside quite a bit and get some practices in.”

Torres and her teammates are looking forward to going outside on a permanent basis and getting some work done.

As a long jumper, Torres figures she has good form in the air. She wants to improve on her steps. “The more I do, the better I’m going to get at it,” she said, adding that in the 100, coming off the blocks and getting a good start are strengths. She wants to do a better job of leaning at the end when she hits the wire.

Torres expects to face good sprinters in various meets around the season. She’s trying to get better meet by meet.

A standout in basketball and volleyball for Baldwin, said track helps her stay in shape for those two sports.

Thomas, a senior, runs the 100- and 200-meter dashes plus the 400-meter and 800-meter relays. The 100 and 200 are both strong events for Thomas. His best time has been an 11.4 in the 100 and he’s hoping to cut that into the high 10-second range. He’s been focusing on weight-lifting and getting a better push off his blocks.

For the 200, Thomas is focusing on the 24 or 25 second range.

“In the 200, it’s about pacing yourself around the curve,” he said. “That’s when I turn to my full strength.”

Thomas has high hopes for the relay teams.

“I think we’ll place first in all the relays, the 400 and 800,” he said. “I’ve decided to go first (in the relays) so we get off to a good start.”