Freshman multisport core helping lead Eagles in Track & Field

TEMPLETON — Due to rainouts and a lack of facilities the Templeton Eagle track and field team has only competed once this season, in a dual meet against Lompoc a week ago. The lack of meets has led to a lack of exposure, but the Eagles girls team is something special. This season, new Templeton track coach Tony Hodges has been able to convince several freshman girls who spend most of their time playing other sports to join track and they are starting to take over.

Sienna Sagely and Emily Puita have both been on the track team all season and also started on an Eagles soccer team that went into the second round of CIF in the winter. Sagely started and contributed heavily to the team and Puita earned first team All-conference honors. However, Hodges just added a new soccer player to his track roster, Merran Grindley, who earned second-team All-conference honors.

“We could tell from day one that she was a great addition and we are pretty excited to have her out,” Hodges said. “Some of the other girls had been telling me that they had been asking her to come out for weeks.”

All three girls are now running track with Sagely and Grindley holding two of the four spots in the prestigious 4x400-meter and 4x100 relays.

“It is exciting for me, this being my first year coaching,” Hodges said. “Having such a solid group that are coming in at the same time that I am. So it is going to be fun watching and seeing how they develop as athletes with just raw talent.”

While the other girls have practiced running track, Grindley only joined the team two weeks ago and has already solidified herself as the fastest on the team and is now the anchor for both of the 4x4 competitions.

“Knowing that is incredible,” Grindley said. “Being a freshman and anchoring the 4x4 is absolutely incredible. And me and Julia — she was anchoring before — we switched because in my other races I did incredibly well and said that I needed to be anchor.”

The 4x4 team is currently made up of two seniors, Julia Aurignac and Karen Nicholson, and two freshmen, Sagely and Grindley. The 4x1 team has three of the same girls but junior Caitlyn Chesson switches in for Nicholson.

Each of the girls mentioned above is a multisport athlete and playing more than one sport has helped them tremendously.

“It is really cool seeing how these girls, they are coming from other sports, so you could see that difference where they are coming from sports where they have been training, they have been keeping in shape,” Hodges noted.  “So once they hit the track they are ready to go. It just comes down to the fundamentals of getting over hurdles and doing those other little movements that they haven't been doing all year.”

Grindley is the one learning to get over the hurdles because she only just started running the 300-meter hurdles for two weeks ago but already has an easy victory under her belt.

“I’ve actually only been doing the hurdles for about two weeks,” Grindley said. “So I haven't done a lot of practice on it and then getting first by 20 or 50 meters is amazing.”

The only reason Grindley is running the 300-meter hurdles instead of the 200-meter race is that the 200-meter runs too close to her other events and she would not have enough rest to run her best.

Templeton is set to have their next track meet on April 11 in Nipomo and will have four meets to get their handoffs ready for the Los Padres League meet on April 28.


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