Kyle Schipper

It’s track season. Well, kind of.

It’s the start of track season, and that includes some sporadic practices and the occasional indoor meet. Fulton is certainly no exception, and the young team is still trying to find its identity through early meets.

“We have about 20 guys on the team, so we don’t have a real big team,” Fulton boys track coach Mike Ankrom said. “We have about four seniors, four juniors and the rest are freshman and sophomores just getting their feet wet, seeing what they can do.”

The Steamers were able to run their first indoor meet last week at the Westwood Sports Complex in Sterling. That’s when Ankrom started to get an idea of where the pieces were going to fall this season.

“Those are good to give us a baseline to see where we’re at,” Ankrom said. “This has been a tough spring for everybody, and we don’t have very good halls or anything to work out in. It’s been difficult to get in shape.”

There definitely was some promise for being so early in the season. Fulton was running against Erie-Prophetstown, Rock Falls, Sherrard, Sterling Newman and Kewanee last Tuesday in its first real competition.

One of their high points was the field events. Senior Brady Shaver placed first in the shot put with a throw of 42-00.5, while Joey Huizenga came in fourth.

“Brady Shaver won, that’s a good start for him,” Ankrom said. “He’s a senior and has some high goals for himself. That’s a start that he can continue to work on and improve.”

He’s not the only one in the field events that Ankrom is looking at. A big force in the jumps in senior Kyle Schipper, a triple jumper who has practiced with state-qualifier Dayne Holesinger for a couple of years. He jumped well in the event and just missed out of placing.

Also returning is high jumper Michael Apostolos. Ankrom was hopeful last season and saw Apostolos plateau a bit. He started out with a 5-06 jump, though, placing fourth overall.

“I liked Michael Apostolos,” Ankrom said. “He high jumped real well, and we think his running is really going to come along with year.”

With his low numbers, relays might not be the Steamers’ strength this season. Ankrom says the 4x200 and 4x400 will be competitive this year and they picked up points last week, but they won’t be their strongest events.

That’s not to say they don’t have strong runners. Like Ankrom said, Apostolos will be a sprinting force for them, placing in the open 200. Ethan Long picked up third place in the same event with a 25.39

“Ethan Long is going to be a strong runner for us this year, he showed some good things in the past and some things in the first meet,” Ankrom said.

Plus, Kyle Schipper has a strong 400-meter dash, as does Travis Hughes. Hughes picked up a fourth-place finish last week in that event, running 1:00.98. Hunter Gossard also made the top-five.

Hughes will also be looking to compete in the 800-meter run.

“He showed a lot of promise in the 800 last year,” Ankrom said. “He got off to kind of a slow start because of basketball, so we would like to see where he picks up there. If he does, there’s good hope he can make good advances there.”

Hughes and Schipper have something in common, as do a handful of other athletes in regards to the basketball season recently ending.

With the weather, though, most people are feeling a little bit behind as track season comes barreling towards us. The Steamers run another indoor meet this Friday, and Ankrom is looking forward to how that one plays out.

“Some of our guys just got done with basketball and only had a couple of practices in,” Ankrom said. “We’ll see this Friday after a little bit more time in.

“I’d like to see everybody step it up.”