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Zebras off and running

Patterson brings loads of experience to Lincoln coaching staff
By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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The Lincoln High track and field team has a bigger roster and is more experienced than it was a year ago. Last year many of the athletes and most of the coaches were new to track and field, Lincoln distance coach Bonnie Sherman said. This year we have both strong returning athletes as well as newcomers. Head coach Adam Kastner is now in his second year at the helm and he has returning assistants Bob Pierce (throwing), Sherman and Corie Volmer (distance). In addition, Lincoln has added a very experienced sprint and technical coach in George Patterson. The Lincoln coaching staff is excited about a number of potential stars this season. Sam Meijer (800, 1600, 3200) is expected to recover from a foot injury and begin competing in the distance events no later than midseason. Wil Meijer (400, 800) and Samantha Keck (800, 1600) as well as freshman cross-country phenom Heather Felt (1600, 3200) are expected to be key members of the distance team. Tony Aiello (discus, shot put), Ray Bevans (sprints), Colin Brown (400, hurdles), Julia Lathrop (discus, shot put) and Shalita Smith (sprints, high jump) are some of the others expected to have big seasons for the Zebras. Shannon Kellar, Cecilia Sunia-Mafileo, Sheena Reichers and Shonna Fraser are also expected to be among the other key contributors for the girls. Lincoln competed only in Pioneer Valley League meets last year but the team will also compete in four major invitationals this year. Lincoln will participate in the Steve March Relays at Del Oro (Friday), the California Athletic League Invitational at Bella Vista (March 8), the Capitol Classic Relays at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento (March 15) and the Bronco-Roundup Distance Carnival at Bella Vista (April 11). Patterson is very excited about the boys' relay teams and predicts that the short and long relay squads will both break school records in about three weeks. Colin Brown, Bevans, Phillip Rutherford and Lucas McKinnon make up the short relay team while a group of Brown, Wyatt Good, Bevans, McKinnon, Colin O'Brien and Derek Vincent will make up the long relay team. Brown is currently battling a tweak in his hamstring. Rutherford is a senior who transferred in from Texas. He's pretty quick and I see him going pretty far, Patterson said. Patterson has coached track and field at Del Oro High (1998-2001), Sierra College (2001-03), Ameri-can River College (2003-05) and Butte College before that. Patterson, a Lincoln resident, had been training with Lincoln High graduate Stephen Kellar in sprints and jumps and that's how he got to know the Lincoln coaching staff. Kellar is also an assistant track coach at Lincoln who attends American River. I started to meet coaches and it was Stephen that kind of got the ball rolling (on bringing Patterson to Lincoln), Patterson said. Patterson basically has experience coaching in all events and he will be helping coach several events with the Zebras. He likes what he sees out of this year's team and is excited about the roster that has nearly 70 kids on it. It's great and the kids are excited, Patterson said. I'm really passionate about track and field and I think the kids see that. I see us getting third place in league. Placer and El Dorado have the numbers but we'll beat the other schools.