Junction City track and field will return to action this spring after losing the 2020 season due to COVID-19 led by a small handful of upperclassmen with experience of competing at the state level.
The Blue Jays return five athletes who competed in the 2019 State Track Meet led by senior Marcello Bussey who qualified in three events as a sophomore including the 400-meter dash and the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay. Bussey was looking forward to building off his success in 2020 but when the season was canceled, he had to look farther in the future for the continuation of his track career.
“My sophomore year I had a pretty good season,” Bussey said. “I went to state for all my events so I was really looking forward to my junior season. I was hoping to break my records and whatever I ran the year before but then it got canceled so I ended up just focusing on football, and getting ready for this season.”
While returning to the state meet is a big goal for him this season, Bussey also wants to find a way to recapture the camaraderie that he felt as a sophomore during the 2019 season.
“I want to help make a culture with the team where we can bond and have fun together at meets and in practice like we did my sophomore year,” Bussey said. “Junior year we didn’t really get the chance, so I just want to bring that to this season.”
Junior Jayda Harris is the other multi-event state qualifier after punching her ticket in the triple jump and the 4x400-meter relay as a freshman. Harris was joined in the 4x400 by senior Janiah Nicholson and senior David Giddens ran with Bussey in the 4x100. Lastly, junior Chazaya Ruffin competed in the high jump.
“The kids are always great,” head coach Randall Zimmerman said. “And this year has been no different. They’re just really adaptable and coachable.”
While Zimmerman expects the athletes in the program that have competed in the state meet to make a return there this season, there’s a big mystery surrounding who will join them. With the 2020 season canceled, that left both the freshman and sophomore classes with unknown potential for who could step up along with juniors and seniors whose ability has grown since the 2019 season.
“We don’t really know what we’re going to have this year since we lost last season,” Zimmerman said. “We know we’ll have a few kids who competed at the 2019 state meet back this year but there are also a lot of unknowns in the younger classes.”
The Blue Jays will open the 2021 season on April 1 with their home invitational.