The Leavenworth Pioneers were going to host their home invitational this Friday but weather delayed the track meet to Monday. 

The delay comes after the weather has hindered early season practices for prep sports across the area. Boys’ track coach Willis Willmeth said the weather has not been their friend in the preseason practices. 

Despite the weather struggles, girls’ coach Rob Marriott said that the practices have still been going well.

“We have some talented returners from last year,” Marriott said. “And some amazing newcomers too.”

The girls’ coach said the team has high hopes for the year.

“We have very high hopes for our season,” Marriott said. “And early workouts are indicating that our goals just might come to fruition.”

The Pioneers have 50 girls and 65 boys out for the team this year including various returning athletes. Willmeth said the boys’ team should be “very solid” in sprints, distances, throws, jumps and hurdles. 

Marriott said the girls’ team only has a couple returning seniors, but he also has seniors who are out for track for the first time since middle school. Marriott said the girls’ team is returning a lot from last year’s state squad.

“The girls’ team is very strong in the sprints,” Marriott said. “But we also got medals in the field last year and in the distance. We have almost everyone returning from last year’s state squad.”

Key contributors this year include Dhakiya Blake, Keshyliah Jackson, Saniyah Hammonds, Lexi Cole, Alyche Brown and Guy and Wynter Ramos in the sprints. Distance contributors include Danny Bohnemann, James Roberts and Maddy Walter-Sherretts. Marriott said Walter-Sherretts is one of the girls’ top returning distance runners after placing in the 800 and 4x8 relay at state last year. Other girls’ relay contributors, according to Marriott, include Elizabeth Finnigan, Adri Carnoali, Chloe Manner and Kate Havner. Jumps will be headlined by Lewis McLaughlin, Sarah Tomasini and Hammonds. Rachel McWilliams, Jalen Dickerson-Sanders and Colbie Fairley will be key throwers. Austin Shoffner in the jumps and Sam Overby in hurdles will also be key contributors. Willmeth also said a host of underclassmen will contribute this year.

The Pioneers join the new United Kansas Conference and the team jumping back up to 6A. Marriott said the team is excited to be in 6A. Neither coach see any changes to the season with the new conference. It will be just a smaller meet at the conference meet compared to the Sunflower League.

The two coaches have various meets that they are looking forward to. Marriott’s include the home invitational, University of Kansas Relays and the state tournament. 

“I always look forward to the Seaman Relays and (Shawnee Mission North) Relays,” Willmeth said.