If the Pueblo West track and field squad is going to be successful this season, it's because it earned its stripes last season.

The Cyclone boys track team, which includes three relay teams that reached the podium at last season's 4A Boys Track and Field State Championships, returns a solid core for what it hopes will be a successful season.

It's going to need that core, as the loss of former state champion long jumper Frankie Nash, and four-time state placer MaLeigha Menegatti looms large. But head coach Brandi Menegatti said the team always seems to re-load – and having an amazing 134 athletes in the program this year certainly helps.

"Every year, I think we lose somebody that can't be replaced," Menegatti said, "and we do, but then every year, someone else steps up and takes that leadership and performance role."

The boys relay teams may take that role.

It returns two members from its third-place 4x100-meter relay team, seniors Reece Bundy and Kolyn Kremer, as well as junior Dawson Menegatti, who was on the 4x200-meter team that finished third as well. All four members of its sixth-place 4x400-meter team – Menegatti, seniors Cody Warren and Nick Wilson, and sophomore Ian Fleming, all return this year.

Kremer said they feel prepared, as former state champion Frankie Nash, who ran the anchor on the 4x100 and 4x200 last season, mentored the younger group. Kremer, who is being relied upon for a leadership role this season, said he hopes to pay it forward.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back to state again," Kremer said. "With (Nash) leading the way for us, we all saw what (state) was like and showed me how good I could be, and I'm going to try to push everybody below me to be successful."

Individually, the Cyclones' field events will be the ones to watch for potential placers or state winners.

Senior Cisco Padilla, who finished 7th in the high jump last season, could be considered a favorite this season, as last year's top-six placers all graduated. Thrower Wyatt Pruce, just a freshman last season, should be a placer in discus, Menegatti said.

On the girls side, high jumpers Shayla Padilla and Rhyan Moore, each podium finishers last season, have shown the potential to compete for a state title, as well.

In addition, junior Kaya Wick, a jack of all trades who's both a state-level pole-vaulter and sprinter, is leading the team.

"She'll pole vault, do the 100, 200, 400, and even the 800 if I ask her to," Menegatti said. "She leads our warmups, she'll be a state qualifier and she's just that person for us."

While the focus is undoubtedly on success at the state meet, Menegatti said earning the South Central League title, which both the boys and girls squads had won the past three seasons, is a centerpiece of the program.

"It's a program-builder," Menegatti said. "Not to be cocky, but S-CL is big part of our culture and winning it is an expectation."

asandstrom@chieftain.com

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