Track and field dreams | Spring preview

This year’s Lopez Lobos track and field team is a small group of students. Head Coach Matt Willis is not daunted by the task. He describes this year’s lineup of players as dedicated and hard working.

“Watching the athletes improve and encouraging them to believe in themselves” is how Willis describes track and field and how it affects young people.

In the future, he would love to see more participation in the sport – not only to compete, but to learn life lessons.

Last year’s Head Coach Steve Wilbur said track is cyclical on Lopez, going from more than 20 athletes in 2010 and 2011 to fewer than 10 last year, which he chalked up to “graduations, injuries, cold weather and fate.”

Despite having a dwindling team there is still plenty of room for developing individual performance. Willis hopes that by the end of the year the kids will learn self-confidence and how to set goals and work towards meeting them.

This year’s lineup of boys includes seniors Solomon Bill, Derekk Buffum, Jacob Simmering and Josef Blanc-Ridings, juniors Michael Hobi and Erik Jonasson, sophomores Rande Gruenwald and Eddie Kramer and freshmen Vinnie Kramer and Harrison Goodrich. Senior Mattie Jordan and sophomore Brianne Swanson make up the girls’ team.

Bill and Swanson went to state last year. Willis hopes more students will have a chance to compete at state this year.

This season marks Willis’ first time stepping into his new role as head coach. He said that he is thankful for the assistance from Lorri Swanson, who works with the sprinters a couple of days per week, and Charlie Washburn, who works with the throwers.

Keep up with the Lobos’ results at