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Lady Tigers blend old new

Four key returnees and a bunch of newcomers.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Four key returnees and a bunch of newcomers.

That’s the makeup of the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers and head coach Tim Thomas is looking to mesh the age and experience difference to make for a successful season.

The four top returning runners are senior Marlie Ford and juniors Ashley Neal, Adriane Hurley, and Tiffany Preston.

"We need those four to have good years and then hope we get some contributions from our younger kids. If we can do that, we can be competitive," said Thomas.

Ford had steady diet of sprints and relays in the past, but she’ll add the pole vault this season as a new event takes hold in girls track. Ford cleared 6-6 in a meet last season to tie the school record.

"Marlie will still be on some relays, but we think she can have some success in the pole vault, too," said Thomas.

Neal has been one of the area’s top 400 meter dash runners. She set a school record in the event as a freshman. Thomas said Neal "began practice in pretty fit condition coming into the year. She was on the 4×400 relay that just missed the state meet by one step."

Tiffany Preston will be a force in the shot put and discus . Cronacher has been impressed.

"So far, she’s throwing the best she ever has. She’s a little taller, her forms coming together now, and she’s more focused," said Thomas.

Hurley, a junior, has been a mid-to-long distance runner the past. Thomas plans to drop Hurley down to the 400 and 200 meter dashes.

"She had a broke ankle as a freshman so training hurt in the shorter distances, but she’s awful quick and she can run them well. She was the fastest girl on the team last year.

McKenzie Winters, a senior, will look to add depth in the long jump and pole vault.

Of Ironton’s 29 runners, 22 are freshmen and sophomores, 14 of whom are freshmen.

"We’re young overall, but the juniors and seniors have been very good leaders," said Thomas. "We have a pretty good nucleus of sophomores and we have 14 freshmen off a successful junior high team."

Ironton opens its season Saturday at the Fairland EarlyBird Relays.