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Mountaineer horizontal jumpers and short sprinters are set to start the 2016-17 track campaign.
Courtesy: Sun Belt Conference
Track Preview: Horizontal Jumps and Short Sprints
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Tuesday 11/22/2016 (ET)
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Leading up the start of the indoor track season, appstatesports.com will preview each coach and their athletes. Today, we take an inside look into the Mountaineer jumpers and sprinters.

Coach McLean’s Notes

“For the indoor season, I am looking forward to the women trying to repeat as Sun Belt champions again,” said coach Damion McLean. “We have a lot of kids, individually, who are shooting for some conference goals and two or three shooting for the NCAA Championships.”

“Both of the jumps and sprints group are relatively young,” continued McLean. “But we have some upperclassmen that are trying to mold them into what we regularly do on a daily and weekly basis. Of course it will take some of the younger guys a little bit more to flourish, but they are coming along well. For the sprints group, it is going to take a while. Hopefully, everybody goes home over the Christmas break and trains and works out, because that is what usually makes or breaks everybody. For the jumpers, if they continue to lift over the break, they will be fine.”

Preparing for the Season

Coach McLean began the offseason with strength and conditioning to get his athletes back into the swing of things and to get people back into tip-top shape for the track season.

In the weeks leading up to the season opener, the jumpers focus on bettering their technique with weight vests to enhance explosiveness. Also, they work on speed and acceleration in their run-throughs to maximize distance. Lastly, they practice gaining as much distance on a shorter approach to maximize their marks during meet days.

For the short sprinters, they focus on resistance work, plyometric training and weights. In addition to those, the group endures bounding drills to help their acceleration and end the week with speed work.

Ruling the Runway

Appalachian returns a stacked group of horizontal jumpers for the upcoming season. Darlene Girardeau and Chelsey Hargrave come back to Boone as the team’s top jumpers both scoring at the conference championships. Girardeau placed seventh in the long jump at the indoor championships, finished second in the long jump at the outdoor championships and represented the Mountaineers in that event at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. At last year’s indoor championship, Hargrave was a Mountaineer double-threat scoring points in both the triple jump (fourth) and the long jump (third).

On the men’s side, senior Isaiah Relliford comes back to Boone as the top long jumper and triple jumper from the 2015-16 track season. Relliford placed ninth in the triple jump and 16th in the long jump at the outdoor championships.

Coach McLean welcomes in Jordan Alexander Johnson and Tylen Noel to the High Country for the 2016-17 season. Jordan Johnson was crowned a conference champion in all of his events his senior year and landed in third in the long jump at the NCHSAA 4A State Championships in 2016. Noel was the county, regional and state champion in the long jump and won the regional championship in the triple jump in Georgia.

Mountaineer Speedsters

Girardeau and Catherine Crawford return to the High Country as App State’s top short sprinters. Girardeau finished third in the 60m and sixth in the 200m at the Sun Belt Indoor Championships and ran the fastest 60m (7.50) and 200m (24.46) time of any Mountaineer. Crawford ran the quickest 400-meter time last year (56.09)and finished 14th in the 400 at the indoor championships.

For the men, William Buckley and Antonio Marcano Jr. return for their senior year on the Mountain. Buckley landed in fourth in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters at the indoor championships and represented the Black and Gold in the 100-meter dash at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Marcano Jr. finished 21st in the 200m,  17th in the 100m and ran a leg on the 4x400-meter relay that grabbed sixth at the outdoor championships.

Joining the Mountaineers in the short sprints this year are freshmen Jabari Johnson, LaBria King and Niecea Pauley. Jabari Johnson was a three-time 200-meter champion and a two-time 100-meter champion in the Far East. King was a two-time All-Girls conference champion in the 100 meters, finished sixth at the New Balance Nationals in 2016 and placed every year at each conference meet she ran in. Lastly, Pauley placed third in the 200 meters at her conference meet and was the driving force that led two relay teams to the FHSAA State Meet.

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