EASTERN HANCOCK ROYALS
Coach: Clayton Schultz
Key Losses: Parker West
Key Returnees: Devyn Brinson, Jr., Clayton Brumfield, Sr., Reece Burkhart, Jr., Cole Cochard, Sr., Aaron Riley, Jr., Austin Smith, Sr.
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Newcomers: Tommaso Gelmetti, Jr., Blayze Sarber, Fr., Kyle Moore, Fr.
Outlook: The Eastern Hancock Royals boys track team has made a name for itself with its excellent performances in the field events.
Since 2014, the Royals have had seven individual regional qualifiers which is pretty impressive considering that they’re one of the smaller schools competing in the postseason.
Aaron Riley and Reece Burkhart were the most recent regional qualifiers for the Royals with both taking eighth place at North Central last year in the shot put and discus throw, respectively. Riley also took home the sectional title in shot put last season with a throw of 47 feet, 7 inches and Burkhart was the sectional runner-up in discus at 132-feet-10-inches.
“We will be very good in the shot put and the discus because of those two guys,” coach Clayton Schultz stated. “The thing about our guys is that they’re not really big guys, they rely on technique, and they’re off to a great start right now.”
The two Royal strongmen look to have another great season this time around and with the help of fellow junior Jared Boaz could run the table in the two throwing events, and Schultz knows that his team’s strength lies with his throwers.
However, that’s not to say Schultz doesn’t think he’ll have some top competitors elsewhere. Overall, the county has shown that these events will be very competitive with a lot of great returning talent, but Schultz said he believes senior Clayton Brumfiled will be a force.
“The distance runners are the strength of the county and many years I have a kid that’s going to be pretty good in the distance, but he’s going to be in the shadows,” Schultz said. “I’m going to have one this year that goes sub-4:30 in the mile and sub-2:50 in the 800 in Clayton Brumfield.”
Fleet-footed senior Austin Smith will lead the Royals in the sprint events. Smith was a regional qualifier in the 400-meter dash a year ago, despite battling a hip injury for much of the year.
According to Schultz, Smith, along with Brumfield, will be relied on to not only get points in their respective events but to also be the go-to leaders of this team.
“He (Smith) is on a mission to have a good year and he sure will because he’s working really hard at it,” Schultz said. “He’ll be a leader on the track and Clayton will be a guy that we count on a lot for us.”