Sports: Menwith Hill focuses on new talent
RAF MENWITH HILL — Small though they may be, the sports teams at RAF Menwith Hill have drawn on every possible physical resource this spring to make a mark in Department of Defense Dependents Schools athletics.
Indeed, about two-thirds of the 97 high school students are on either the track or soccer team this season.
The team coaches said recently they plan to capitalize on a flood of up-and-coming talent to be competitive in the DODDS small-school leagues.
“We really are looking pretty good,” said head track and field coach Larry “Liberty” Bell, helming a squad of 42 students this spring, split evenly between boys and girls.
With just one senior boys team member this season, Bell said he’ll be looking to get mileage out of several jack-of-all-trades athletes to score points.
“We’ve got a couple of real good utility people,” he said. Sprinter Chris Brew and middle distance runners Tim Smith, Matt Hill and Michael Faust are expected to perform well on the track, while “Tiny” Tim Mudgett can throw well in the shot put, Bell said.
The track team has benefited from a conversion of cross-country runners, he said, and no less from the girls’ contribution. Sophomore Danielle Rexroat has shown promise in middle distance events, and junior sprinter Jasmine Clear also is expected to be a points-earner for the team, Bell said.
“We’ve got a lot of girls that have really good potential,” Bell said.
On the soccer pitch, younger athletes also will be looked to for leadership and contributions as the boys program recovers from the graduation of six seniors last year.
“We lost a lot of people last year,” coach Travis Potter said. With 17 students on the roster, however, the team has enough numbers to try to at least match last year’s 1-5 season, in which Menwith Hill picked up its first win in several seasons.
There’s plenty of raw talent on the field, Potter said, though the players have a “mixed range of experience,” which could handicap them in early play.
Up front, junior Jon Criss will be heading the offense from the striker position, while Michael Bartholomew and Ben Coker will be anchors for the defense, Potter said.
Potter, whose wife, Leatha, coaches the girls team, said the story is a little different for the 14-member girls squad, which has a set of core players returning this year.
“They’re all top-notch go-getters,” Potter said. Looking to improve on a 2-2 record from last year (the two wins were from forfeits), the girls will follow co-captains Alexandra Younger and Crystal Smith on the field, whom Potter called “perfect generals,” for the team.
Menwith Hill kicked off all three sports last weekend in matches against Brussels, and all three will be at London Central High School this weekend for its second week of play.