By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel track and field men are at it again. With the official start of the 2013 season little more than two weeks off they’ve been able to work out in mostly balmy conditions, although the wind has been a little strong this week. For the most part the weather has cooperated nicely and optimism is in the air.
Head track coach Jake Hofstetter joined the Port Isabel High School coaching staff in 2001 as an assistant coach for the football and baseball programs. After three seasons assisting baseball head coach Robert Holland, Hofstetter assumed the head coaching duties for track and field in time for the 2005 season. Hofstetter has served continuously since 2001 as a football assistant, and he and head football coach and athletic director Monty Stumbaugh, who also came to Port Isabel High in 2001, have worked together now for 12 seasons.
Conditioning is important and the process of working up to top speed and maximum performance is a careful and gradual one. This is the second full week of practice for Hofstetter’s squad. They have two more weeks to prepare for their first meet of the new season. The 58th annual Sams Relays will be held at Sams Stadium in Brownsville on Saturday, February 16.
“We’re planning on winning the district championship, of course,” Hofstetter said. “We were second at the District 32-3A meet in 2012. The mile-relay team got second. We have a seasoned core coming back from last year, so we’ve just got to put the pieces together and hope it all works out.”
Hofstetter described the process of assembling the best team possible and having it peak at the right time. “We won’t have everybody set till we go to district,” he said. We’ll experiment at every meet before that.”
The District 32-3A meet is scheduled for April 8 and 11 and will take place in Rio Hondo. The Tarpon Relays will be held in Port Isabel the week after the Brownsville meet, on Saturday, February 23, and four additional meets are scheduled at five different sites from March 2 to March 28.
“We’ve got Andrew Holland, Ryan Vasquez, L.B. Bennett and Jason Schrank in the hurdles,” Hofstetter said. “We’ve got some throwers coming back; Mark Benavides in the shot put, and Jacques Guillot in the discus. We’re going to try to get Jacques to do both, if possible.”
The junior varsity team will start their season with the Tarpon Relays on February 21 (Thursday) and will then travel to Rio Hondo for the Bobcat Relays a week later on the 28th. Two more JV meets will follow, in La Feria on March 7, and in Raymondville, on March 21, before the District 32-3A meet on April 8 and 11.
Hofstetter said, “We’ll just try to set times for ourselves (at Sams Relays) compete against ourselves, and see where we’re at.”
Read this story in the Jan. 31 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.