By Ken Lay

The 2017 season opens Tuesday afternoon for the Hardin Valley Academy track and field teams. The Hawks and Lady Hawks will get things rolling Tuesday afternoon at Sevier County at 5 p.m.

HVA will make the trip, which will begin a quest to its short but rich track tradition. Since its inception nine years ago, the program has been home to multiple state champions and record holders.

“We have good kids who work extremely hard,” said coach Bryan Brown, who has been the only track and cross country coach in school history and begins his ninth season at the helm for the Hawks and Lady Hawks. “On our team website, we have all of our team records and state championships.

“The kids come in knowing our team history and they want to be a part of that. They can’t wait to be a part of it.”

That history for Hardin Valley’s girls includes five consecutive Knoxville Interscholastic League Meet Championships. The boys have won three straight KIL Titles but the Hawks didn’t add another county championship in 2016.

“Our goal every year is to win the KIL,” Brown said. “Our girls have won five in a row. Our boys came up short last year.

“The track competition is tough around here but they’re looking forward to getting back and competing at that level this year.”

The girls will look to win another KIL Championship and they’ll do so with a talented crop of veteran field athletes, hurdlers and middle distance runners.

“Our team strengths are field event experience and returners in the middle distance group and in the hurdles,” Brown said. “Our questions will be in the sprint events.

“We have good young kids who don’t have much experience.”

Top returners for the Lady Hawks include: Rebekah Hampton (the senior has multiple all-state performances and competes in the hurdles, long jump, triple jump and the pentathlon); Lizzie Davis (300 hurdles, high jump and triple jump. She has also posted multiple all-state performances); Symphony Buxton (shot put/discus she was all-state in the shot put in 2016); Gia Foaro (a two-time all-state performer in the relays): Lainee Griffin (two-time all state in the relays); Kensi Gray (800-meter run and relays); Emily Readett (800); Jenna Wall (800, 1-mile run) and Madison Grimm (1,600 and 3,200).

Key newcomers are: Timaya Ray (she’s a freshman and middle school champion who will compete in the 100 and 200); Haley Stinnet (100, 200); Anola Smith (hurdles); Ellie Hicks (hurdles); Isabella Bertolini (relays); Ellie Bachmann (400, 800, 1,600); Taylor Van Hout (1,600, 3,200); Mandy Prescott (shot put) and Riley Hennen (a transfer from Bearden who medaled in the discus at the KIL Championships last season).

Top returners for the boys include: Adan Vasquez (hurdles); Jaspreet Singh (100, 200); Alex Freshour (100); Nolan Brown (200, hurdles); Kenton Bachmann (800); Hayden Gorham (1,600); Brennan Humphreys (1,600, 3,200); Miguel Parrilla (400, 800, relays); Simon Pack (long jump/triple jump); Tim Frizzell (shot put); Elijah Jones (shot put) and Micah Hayes (discus).

Key newcomers include: Rook Landers (shot put and jumps); Ellis Chapman (shot put); Kelton Gunn (100, 200,400); Wellington Wright (200, 400, triple jump) and Aaron Dykes (who is competing in track for the first time after being a top performer in football and basketball during his time at the school).