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Girls Track and Field: Plano's versatility, speed look like strengths for first-year coach Ponx

Reapers took third at Sycamore Invite during indoor season

Rick Ponx didn't really know what to expect.

Ponx, coming off his first football season at Plano, was approached after Christmas about coaching the girls track team. The last time he coached track was the 1988-89 school year, at Ohio Northern University.

"Back then, everybody did more than one thing," Ponx said.

Ponx knew little about his first track team, but it was a pleasant start to indoor season before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted things.

The Reapers held their own in a meet at Glenbard North, went down to the University of Illinois for a meet, then came back to third at the varsity level and second at JV at the Sycamore Invite March 10.

"I wanted everybody to compete, so I mixed things up," Ponx said. "For us to finish as high as we did, at that point I knew these girls were good."

It's a group with versatility and speed, that Ponx thinks could be particularly strong in the sprints, hurdles, distance and jumps. Kayah Myles, third in the 55 at Sycamore, is very good, and freshman Armoney Clay, who teamed with Myles, Tomi Ashaye and Maryssa Woodhouse to take second in the 480-meter relay, is very fast. Rachel Martinez took third in the 400 at Sycamore and Kelsey Edwards is a leader.

Sophomore Oluwatomi (sprints/relays), freshman Sasha Helftott-Waters (pole vault/mind sprints) and freshman Woodhouse (sprinter/jumps/relays) are among others to watch.

"We've got enough depth to compete in our league," Ponx said. "We're at roughly 30-35 girls. It's a small team, but everybody is versatile. We have girls who can sprint, relays, do jumps, so they're not getting overtaxed."

While it's not ideal for the team to be apart during the season, Ponx said Plano has got involved with the platform system for workouts whereas athletes can access a home workout or weight room workout right from their home.

"That way they can stay right on schedule with what they're doing," Ponx said, "and the neat thing about track is they can go out and run, do a workout and stay in shape. They have access to all that on platform.

"Although we're very disappointed with the current situation, our athletes' health is most important. We are waiting anxiously to see what happens this spring."

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