By Kevin Eickman
With the Henlopen Conference and State meets on the horizon, coach Bob Spath rounds out his initial year with Milford Track & Field. While this season may not have been everything he had hoped for, Spath is optimistic that the Buccaneers are headed in the right direction “I think the team has had it’s ups and downs this season,” Spath stated. “We have had to contend with a great deal of injuries this year as well as having some athletes that are participating in multiple spring sports. Not having everyone available, has caused everyone to step up.”
One of the injuries that has been an issue was a hamstring injury to sophomore sprinter Osvaldo Arias, who has been rounding himself into shape of late. “Osvaldo is a very talented sprinter and not having him available has been a hindrance to us,” Spath said. “He is by far our fastest athlete. So that threw a real monkey wrench into our plans for the 100 and 200.” The return from injury is coming at a good time for the Bucs and Spath believes it will have a real positive effect on the team. “Having him back has gotten our boys side up to full strength, for the Conference tournament right around the corner,” Spath stated.
The strength of the girls has been in the distance events for Milford this year, with junior Deja Rodriquez-Santiago joined by sophomore Emily Holstein to create a powerful tandem for the Buccaneers. “The two of them are very solid competitors who work very hard at their craft,” Spath said. “The effort they have put in has really showed up in their performances this year, they are very talented runners. They are running one, two in all the distance races.”
With the Henlopen Conference Championships coming up this Thursday and Friday, Spath believes that while the team may not fair as well as he would like, there is the potential for some head turning results in some events. “I think that our 4x 800 girls relay team could produce a conference medal,” Spath stated. Spath also believes that with the return of Arias, the 4 x 100 might be able to surprise some people. “They are really beginning to round into shape at just the right time. It is definitely something to be positive about,” said Spath.
One of the events that Spath has a real belief that Milford will do well in, is in the pole vault. Milford senior Adam Funkhouser is the current school record holder for the Buccaneers, recording 14 feet earlier this season. “Adam will be the favorite to win the Conference title and also should be a factor in the State meet later this month,” Spath said. “He is very gifted in the vault and has been working extremely hard in the event.”
While Funkhouser may be best at the pole vault, he has garnered success in other events as well. “We put him in the high jump and he qualified for states. We put him in the 300 hurdles and he qualified for states. We put him in the 110 hurdles and he qualified for states,” Spath stated. “Adam has done everything we have asked of him and more, he is a tremendous athlete, student and person.”
The start time for the Henlopen Championships will be 4 pm, Thursday, May 12 and Friday, May 13.
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