Step by step
When De Soto track and field coaches Chris McAfee and Brian Dinkel set out to build a stronger track program, they didn't expect it to happen in one season.
One year into their plan, McAfee said he has seen plenty of promising signs, however.
"It was good," McAfee said. "There were some kids that stepped up that we were anticipating, or that we didn't expect quite as much out of."
Though the Cats didn't capture any state championships, De Soto enjoyed one of its best seasons on the track. The team sent 14 athletes to the state meet and five came home as medalists.
Andre Linzy led the way. Despite participating in track for just his first season, the junior led the team by qualifying for state in three events. He went on to finish second in the long jump at the Class 4A state meet, and just missed a chance at a medal in both the triple jump and the 200-meter dash.
"Andre was a pleasant surprise," McAfee said. "We thought he would do well, but he did a great job."
De Soto was again strong in the distance events in 2007, sending Lauren Karnitz in the 1,600 and the 800, Chris Dvorak and Lucas Slater in the 3,200, and both the boys and the girls 3,200 relay teams.
It was no surprise when Jackie Goleman, the 2006 Class 4A high jump champion, again qualified in that event, also adding her third consecutive trip in the 100 hurdles.
It was the other athletes that competed well late in the season that really showed the progress the team had made, however.
Christina Davis won the discus throw at regionals. Chesney Burgweger -- a part of the girls 3,200 relay -- also qualified individually in the triple jump. Riley Day qualified in the pole vault.
Those state-worthy photos combined with other near misses at the regional tournament to prove that De Soto had its deepest team in years.
"We still have to get deeper," McAfee said. "Instead of having one good guy, or two guys in an event, we want to get three or four good guys, or at least one good guy in every event.
"There's still work to do, but we definitely took a step in the right direction."