Several things are up in the air for Corona’s track and field team this year.
First, they have a new coach in Trish Cox. Second, their schedule is still a work in progress.
But basketball is done in Corona, meaning Cox can already focus on getting the kids in shape for the great outdoors.
While Cox hasn’t coached track before, she’s not a stranger to the school or the kids. She’s a math teacher in the schools and her sons – Cabel and Conner – have been fixtures in Cardinal athletics for some time.
Currently, she had eight boys and girls out for track. Senior Aubrey Brandenberger is expected to return in the 100 and 300 hurdles, Payton Dunsworth will run 400 and throw discus, while Jaime Morales will run 300 hurdles and triple jump for the boys.
“All three seniors are doing fewer events to really focus and try to make a real run at state,” Cox said. “The underclassmen are also focusing on events they really care about. Nobody is trying for all around.”
As a junior, Conner Cox will throw the shot, as will sophomore brother Cabel.
Cabel Cox also plans to throw javelin and run the 1,600, while fellow sophomore Luke Lueras will throw shot and discus.
Other than Dunsworth and Aubrey Brandenberger, the only other Lady Cardinal planning to compete this track season is Brandenberger’s freshman sister Koelle.
Like Hondo, Corona has no actual track to practice on, meaning they’ve got to sometimes schedule practices in Carrizozo – site of this year’s District 3-1A meet.
There’s also the issue with early spring weather, which can be pretty bad in New Mexico. Also, FFA is big in a ranching community like Corona, so track sometimes takes a back seat.
“We were going to practice tomorrow, but the forecast is dreadful,” Cox said via e-mail on Feb. 27. “We are only going to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays because of judging practice.”
Aubrey Brandenberger possibly has the best shot at a medal in hurdles, although she’s recovering from a hip injury that ended her basketball career early about two months ago.
Coach Cox said she’s progressing well and should be ready to go when the Cardinals head to Cloudcroft on April 1 for a practice meet.
“She is doing good. She has been doing specific exercises and started running about a week ago and her hip felt really good,” Cox said. “She is planning on getting help from Tommy Mulkey with her form. I think focusing on hurdles will serve her well.”