Devotion and excellence mark Polk track and field performance

Polk County spring track and field award winning athletes and their coaches took a moment after their May 23 dinner for this photograph. They are, from left; front row: Henry Weaver, Jenny Wolfe, Emma Wagoner, Jessica Bailey, Danielle Holtz, Amanda Simoncic, Savannah Robbins, Anamarie Gunderson, Tameeia Brown, and Scott Harding; Back row: Jim McGrane, Alan Peoples, Nate Smart, Jacob Wolfe, Mitchell Brown, Sean Doyle, Nic Barwell, and Patrick Stimac. (Photos by Mark Schmerling)

Polk County spring track and field award winning athletes and their coaches took a moment after their May 23 dinner for this photograph. They are, from left; front row: Henry Weaver, Jenny Wolfe, Emma Wagoner, Jessica Bailey, Danielle Holtz, Amanda Simoncic, Savannah Robbins, Anamarie Gunderson, Tameeia Brown, and Scott Harding; Back row: Jim McGrane, Alan Peoples, Nate Smart, Jacob Wolfe, Mitchell Brown, Sean Doyle, Nic Barwell, and Patrick Stimac. (Photos by Mark Schmerling)

Forty state champions in fewer than 30 years is Polk County High School’s statement of excellence in track and field performance.

While this season’s state 2AA tournament did not produce any state champions for the Wolverines, they had much to celebrate at their May 23 dinner at Harmon Field.

“Some of you, I’ve had for four years,” head coach Alan Peoples told those athletes attending. “Some of you, I’ve had since middle school. Some of you, I’ve had forever. I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”

Some 100 schools competed in the May 21 state 2A championships in Greensboro. Polk’s men  placed 11th, with the women placing 22nd.

Graduation will send some of Polk’s star performers (including Sean Doyle, Mitchell Brown and Emma Wagoner) to college, but mentioning talented freshmen, including Izzy Jackson, Mariah Overholt, state third-place pole-vault finalist Jake Justice, and other promising underclassmen, prompted grins from Peoples, thinking of how those athletes will only improve.

Men receiving awards at the dinner included Doyle (running MVP), Elijah Sutton (most-improved runner), Justice (field MVP), pole-vaulter Troy Lieberman (Field Most Improved), Nic Barwell (Mr. Wolverine) and Brandon Bacher (“I-can-do-it” award, presented to the team member who volunteers to perform wherever coaches feel he can help).

The women award winners were to India Godlock (running MVP), Jackson and Overholt (sharing the most improved runner award), Wagoner (field MVP), thrower Micheala Nelon (most improved field performer), Savannah Robbins (Ms. Wolverine) and Danielle Holtz (“I-can-do-it’).

Team members received special shirts noting that the Wolverines have been Western Highlands Conference champions for the past four years, prompting Peoples to mention that next year, new shirts must proclaim five years.

People re-affirmed his and his assistants’ devotion to team members, telling parents, “We love them; we spend time with them.”

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