Story first appeared in the March 23, 2016 edition of The Northwestern Press and on thelehighvalleypress.com later that day.
Every Northwestern varsity sport has seen talented athletes come through and graduate as of late. The Tiger boys track and field team is no different.
The squad has plenty of holes to fill on the roster and it will be freshmen filling them, according to head coach Tim Cunningham.
“We will have to rely on younger athletes, freshmen, to step up and fill in the empty places,” he said.
Cunningham said that he “lost many athletes to graduation,” most notably, Cam Richardson (sprints), Brayden Heller (distance) and Jake Steidinger (pole vault).
Those aforementioned newcomers hope to keep up the level of those predecessors, which means keeping Northwestern near the top of the Colonial League. The 2015 Tigers finished fourth in the league with a 7-4 record.
Returning for the Tigers this year is a core of athletes in various areas including seniors Ed Parrish (throws), Dan Hallingstad (middle distance) and David VanBlargan (pole vault) as well as juniors Trevor Cunningham (hurdles/jumps) and Rob Seyfried (high jump). Also, sophomore distance runners Andrew Goodolf and Kenny Gawelko are expected to make an even bigger impact this spring.
Despite the strong returning group, Cunningham does not believe his team has one strong area.
“No one area that is strong, but we will need to spread our athletes around to try and out-point our opponents,” he said.
Conversely, Cunningham believes the highly talked about numbers game is a drawback for his squad this season.
“Depth is our biggest weakness,” he said. “Success will be determined by how well we can juggle our athletes around in the lineup.”
The team will test its juggled lineup for the first time during its season opener against Palmerton and Southern Lehigh on March 29.
While the team success hinges on the lineup magic Cunningham will orchestrate with this coaching staff and athletes, he still hopes to have collective success and see individuals advance far in the postseason meets in May.
“The team goal is to have a .500 record and to advance as many athletes to the postseason as possible,” Cunningham said.