AP NEWS

Clark ready for first year leading Discoverer boys track

March 22, 2019

Columbus boys track and field welcomes Patrick Clark to the head of the program in 2019. Clark takes over a team with three returning state qualifiers in junior Nick Stoeckle and seniors Curtis Briggs and Santiago Ramirez-Marino.

Stoeckle qualified in the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles in 2018. He finished seventh in the 300.

Briggs and Ramirez-Marino both qualified as members of the 1600 relay.

“I’m excited with it being my first year at the helm,” Clark said. “It’s exciting. We have a great group of kids back. We have great leadership from our senior class, and even our junior class has great leadership pulling these young kids along.

“These kids have been working hard all season and even in the offseason. We’re ready to get on the track. With this weather delaying us a little bit we’re champing at the bit. We’re ready to go.”

Stoeckle is bringing a straight forward, no nonsense approach to the new season. Although he has the experience of competing at Burke Stadium, he’s not about to rest on his accomplishments.

Qualifying for Omaha is, of course, an achievement, but now that he’s been to state and brought home some hardware, the goal is to keep the tradition alive and win more often.

“Just doing your best everyday, hard work, putting in the effort every rep over the hurdle, every set you doing, just don’t take a break,” he said. “It all gets you better. It all gets you ready for state.”

It also gets him ready to, perhaps, put himself in the record books. Admittedly, Stoeckle recognizes that he’s close in the 110 hurdles, and has set out to put a new mark on the board.

He broke the school’s 300 record last year when he ran a time of 39.76 seconds.

His personal best of 15.0 in the 110s is only 0.3 seconds off the Discoverer record.

“It’s not a joke. We have fun times here, but when it comes to hard work, we get it going and work for that goal” Stoeckle said.

Briggs is also focused on the hard work it takes to get back to Omaha.

“Just keep working hard every day,” he said. “For me personally, I’m just trying to get back. I had surgery on my knee in January, so I just have to get back to 100 and keep working.”

The 1600 relay team from last year loses two seniors. Regardless, Briggs seemed confident the team has the necessary replacements.

“We just need to find another group that works well together like last year’s and just keep working on it,” he said. “I definitely want to keep getting faster. I only ran a low 54 last year. I want to get down to 52 in the 400.”

Briggs is also a high jumper and wants to break 6-0 this season.

The strength of CHS will be hurdles and relays, but Clark hopes to score points across many events.

“Our hurdles are really good with Nick (Stoeckle) returning,” he said. “He’s been to state two years in a row. That’s one of our strengths there. We’ve got some relay teams that are going to be strong. We have ares all around that are pretty good. I wouldn’t say we just have one specific group. Definitely with Nick (Stoeckle) and Curtis (Briggs).”

With the returning qualifiers and a lot of unproven, talent, Clark said he believes he has a team that will push for the top of the leaderboard at each meet.

“I think we’re going to compete as a team,” he said. “Across the board at our invites, our expectations is to score more at every meet that we’ve done.

“I think we’ve got the tools to do it. We’re going to make a strong run at our conference meet this year. I think we have the tools to do that. And state, we’re maybe not one of the favorites, but we’re definitely going to push for some team points.”

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com