The Basehor-Linwood track and field team kicks off their season Monday when they travel to Liston Stadium in Baldwin City. The meet was originally scheduled for Friday, March 29 before it was delayed due to weather.

Head coach Scott Russell said practices leading up to the meet have been great. He said the kids have had great attitudes and there has been good “vibes” at practice.

Russell said the early spring weather has caused issues for coaches in high school sports in the area but it has not been as much of a factor for the track team.

“The weather hasn’t really been much of a factor,” Russell said. “We just have made adjustments to our training plans and modified some of our training runs.”

Russell touched on a variety of strong returning athletes for the Bobcats, including Kyle Alcanter, Nolan Ford, Lucy Lally, Adell Gore, Taylor Theno, Riley Tinder and Jace Friesen as well as a strong freshman class led by Trevor McBride, Aidan Ingram and Aidan Ford.

Russell expects returning state qualifiers like Jenna Zydlo, Ellie Dussilier, Jake Wilson, Nolan Ford, Alcanter and Tinder to be the key contributors along with freshmen McBride, Aiden Ford and Sean McGowan as well as newcomer Jr. Tatum.

Along with the new faces like McBride and Tatum, the Bobcats will also see new faces in competition with the Bobcats joining the United Kansas Conference. The school also is jumping up to 5A.

“The new conference will defiantly be a big step up in terms of seeing some new competition,” Russell said, “as well as some other teams that might be different from the old (Kaw Valley League) in terms of their strengths. I am looking forward to the new UKC as well as the jump to 5A. It can go either way. Obviously, we were in a large and tough 4A division last year so moving up to 5A actually could potentially help us with having fewer teams to compete against at a regional. So potentially we could see a lot more kids qualify for state this year which would be a really big impact for our program.”

Russell said goals for this year include winning the conference, qualifying as many kids for state as possible and getting those qualifiers on the podium. He said the coaches try to take the pressure off of winning the regionals.

“Realistically it is not that we don’t care about placing at the regionals,” Russell said. “If everyone does their job and places in the top four, the team part takes care of itself. We really just try to qualify as many kids as we can and give them an opportunity to be in Wichita at the state meet.”

Looking ahead to the season, Russell said one of the meets he is looking forward to the most is the home relay meet April 5. He said it is always a “fantastic meet” with the kids having a chance to compete on their home track in front of friends and family. He said the meet is also great for himself as he is able to direct a meet.

The Kansas Relays on April 19-20 is another meet he looks forward to on the University of Kansas campus. The Bobcats will try to get a state-caliber team to qualify for the meet to see what competition will be like at a meet Russell describes as “high quality.”

He also said the Bobcats will return to the Shawnee Mission North meet on May 3. Last year was the first time the Bobcats went to it for another higher competition level meet. Lastly, he mentioned the meet at Lawrence Free State on April 12 for another meet with strong competition. Russell mentioned that the medaling for the meet is based off of a standard, rather than a place.

“So I am kind of interested to see how (the Lawrence Free State) coach runs the meet over there,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I’m super pumped about it and pumped on a few of those meets.”