Matt Showers was the state champion in the high jump in eighth grade. Now in high school, he has his sights set on continuing his winning ways.
Track is not an easy sport.
Just last year Showers started with 12, but that number dwindled to eight.
Showers, however, has taken comfort in the fact that a solid group from the junior high system is coming into the fold.
"I've been watching this group for five years, and I've been waiting," she said. "I feel with this group that it's our turnaround year. This is our future. We're ready to start making track a little more successful at Camp Verde."
As the 2005 campaign kicks off, Showers has 25 athletes on the roster, three of whom are returning from last year.
Amy Showers, arguably the most successful runner at Camp Verde High, is back for her senior year. During the past three seasons she has not failed to qualify for state in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, placing in the top eight each time out.
This year, Showers' goal is not only to get back to state, but also to break the school record in both events. Her best time in the 100 hurdles is 16.24, close to a minute off the record. Her time of 48.21 in the 300 is also a little short.
Katie Brown, also a hurdler, has state experience, but in the 4x400 relay. The junior just missed out on competing at state with a fourth-place showing in the 100 at regionals. She'll have to lower her time of 18.72 into the 16s to land one of the three spots available during the regional meet.
Sissy Logston, a sophomore, learned a lot last year in the throwing events. That experience, along with improving her technique, could carry her to state in the shot put. Her best distance in the event is 27 feet. To get to state, she'll need to get in the 30s.
Coach Showers knows what to expect out of her three returnees; it's the other 21 competitors' performances that are up in the air. Getting all she can out of the youth movement shouldn't be a problem. Although virtually untested at the varsity level, they're already producing through the first two meets.
Matt Showers, a freshman, didn't leave himself many goals after the season opener. His quest of setting a new school record in the high jump was accomplished when he cleared the bar at 6-5, a height that would have won state last year by two inches. The leap erased Brain Phelps out of the CVHS books by one inch.
That leaves school records in the long jump and triple jump still open, which Showers has four years to shatter.
Ashley Petefish is one of three freshmen that will be competitive in the sprints. Her times in the 100 and 200 (13 and 28 seconds) are already close to what the West Region put out last year.
Rainey Walker is in the 14s and 29s in both events, also a solid region time.
"I think you'll see both girls times come down as we start to do speed work later in the season," coach Showers said.
Freshman Sherry Dutton will run the 400 and 800, although she was second at the Middle School State Tournament in the discus. Showers' feels her best events will be the middle sprints, along with the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Jessica Reagan, another freshman, is right there with Dutton in the 400 and 800. Depending on how both do in those events, Showers will probably have one run just the 800 and the other the 400 because both events run back-to-back.
Ernesto Sierras isn't a freshman, but he's starting off the season like everyone else. The junior will tackle the 800 and 1,600. He took third in the 1,600 at Wickenburg in the first meet with a time of 5:07. A 4:28 won the region last year.
Senior Zach Davis, a first-time runner, will compete in the same events, but Showers may have him focus on the 800 and the 4x800 relay toward season's end.
Mallory Phelps, also a senior who's out for the first time, will run the 1,600 and 32,000. She'll have to drop a minute in the mile to be competitive in regionals and state.
Also joining the team for the first time is Teagan Tudor, a transfer student, and Barbora Michalkova, a foreign exchange student.
Both will compete in the sprints and a few relays.
"I'm really excited about this group. I think we'll surprise a few people," Showers said. "I don't think we have enough to win a region championship, but it is nice to have a little bigger team to take. We're not the smallest in the region anymore."