Turpin's Shade Whitfield (right) returns in 2011 to resume his role as the school's top hurdler. File photo Anthony Amorini/Contributor

By Nick Dudukovich ndudukovich@communitypress.com

With a new track and field season now under way, the Turpin High School boys team has some lofty expectations for this spring.

Head coach Matt Wieczorek and the Spartans hope to win the newly aligned FAVC East, as well as advance several individuals to June’s track and field state championships.

Turpin's Shade Whitfield (right) returns in 2011 to resume his role as the school's top hurdler. File photo Anthony Amorini/Contributor

With returning seniors, such as Shade Whitfield, Andrew Flohr and Matt Olsson returning, Turpin could be poised to have its presence felt in Columbus.

Wieczorek believes that the Spartans’ high standards for 2011 are indicative of his team’s confidence.

“We have guys who have ambition. Guys like Flohr, Whitfield, and Olson made regionals last year, and came up short (of state),” Wieczorek said. “They know what they have to do get there and that’s good. Because if we don’t believe in ourselves, nobody will believe we can achieve anything.”

Whitfield, who advanced to the 2010 regional meet with a third-place finish at districts (15.33 seconds) ,will try and improve off last spring’s postseason.

In the field, Flohr, who competes at discus, will try to build off his sixth place finish at last season’s district meet, while Olsson, who competes at pole vault, will attempt to better his eighth-place regional finish.

In distance events, junior Antony Parnigoni is coming off a cross country season that saw him advance to the state championship meet.

Wieczorek believes Parnigoni could set the school record in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter events.

In relays, juniors Brian Polivka and Joel Neuhart, as well as senior James Rohlender, will team up with Whitfield to form what should be a formidable 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams.

The Spartans also possess several young talented athletes, as well as some experienced juniors that Wieczorek said he is looking forward to see compete.

Those individuals include freshman Drew Kiracofe (distance), Phil LaPresto (distance), and freshman Alaedin Tirba (distance).