The Patriots are looking to continue their upward spiral when they compete in the Area 4A meet at Whitefield Academy, which began Tuesday and concludes today.
With a veteran unit of 14 seniors on the boys’ and girls’ rosters combined, first-year Mount Pisgah coach Tersoo Uhaa is encouraged by the progress that his teams have made this season.
“It’s been great,” Uhaa said. “It’s been pretty much of a learning season for me, just because this has been my first year. I’ve been blessed with a very hard-working group and every day at practice, we have a great, positive mentality. Everyone comes to work. We have 14 seniors and it’s bittersweet to have that much experience. They have been great and they’re our heartbeat, our leaders and they set a great example for our underclassmen.”
Continuing the program’s progress after its top-10 state finishes of a year ago has been the main focus for Uhaa.
“Those were our best state finishes ever and we have to build on that this year,” Uhaa said. “Going into our first challenge, which is [the area meet] – hopefully, we’ll have a lot of kids move on to state. We definitely stepped up the workout regiment this year and the way we run things overall. But the team has received it really well and I don’t have to do much to motivate our kids to work hard. They know the expectations and they come to run and they come to work hard.”
This year’s Mount Pisgah track teams feature more depth in both the boys’ and girls’ lineups, with the sprints and jumps its strongest events.
“We’re stronger than we have been in past years in the sprints,” Uhaa said. “But also, this is the first year that we have filled out every event without having any events left empty and that’s been a big part of our success in terms of scoring points.”
Seniors Carson Howe and Browning Dunn have proven to be a potent duo for the Mount Pisgah boys, with Howe shining in the 200-meter dash as well as the 400, high jump and both the 400 and 1,600 relays and Dunn excelling in the 100 and 200 as well as both the 400 and 1,600 relays.
“Browning and Carson compete in practice every day and they’ve made each other so much better,” Uhaa said. “They lead each other in a positive way.”
The Pisgah boys are also led by senior Shane Sullivan, an Emory University signee who is a contender in both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs.
“If he can run the way he can and the way I know he can, he has a great opportunity to win the 3,200 at state,” Uhaa said. “Shane is another one of those kids who puts in the work. He puts in the miles and he’s doing what he’s supposed to do every day.”
The Patriots are also strong in the boys’ long jump, where sophomore Sam Aden and senior Ian Ainsworth — ranked second and third respectively in Area 4A — lead the way.
Junior Ally Smith and senior Sarah-Scott Lewis — who finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Class A private school competition at the state meet last year — lead the girls’ team, which also includes promising freshman triple jumper Paige Peterson.