By Jean DePlacido
---- — Veteran girls coach Dave Jellerson is a busy man this spring.
Starting his 24th year as the girls outdoor track coach at Beverly High, he’s now also in charge of the boys’ team this spring.
Jellerson agreed to handle both squads with the help of assistant Chandler Jones, recently hired Annmarie O’Connor and volunteer Bob Brahn.
“It’s definitely a busy time for me trying to get the season off the ground,” said Jellerson. “I agreed to take on the boys for this season in order to see the program continue. We’re dividing up the work among our coaches. It’s not a first for me, because I coached both boys and girls before in cross country when I first began in Beverly, but this is a much bigger job.
“The boys’ numbers are small, and depth is definitely a problem. What we’re looking for is individual improvement. We have some talented athletes that should do well, but finding people to fill out all 15 events presents a big challenge.”
The Panther boys will depend on senior captains Dylan Staid (distance), Michael Black (middle distance), and Aren Salmela (throws) for leadership.
Other talented athletes expected to score big points include Bruno Caetano (hurdles/sprints), Alex Greco (distance), Brian Williams (sprints), and distance/middle distance runners Dylan Perry, Campbell Wood, and Michael Scott.
Things are much different on the girls’ side. The Panthers are one of the top teams in the Northeastern Conference every year, and with several key people back from last year’s 6-1 team and this past winter’s 7-0 indoor squad, that should be the case once again.
Captains Madison Shropshire (distance), Allison Collins (middle distance), Nicole Kirsch (throws) and Haley Albert (distance) provide outstanding leadership.
The Panthers will be strong in the sprints led by Caitlin Harty, Theresa Orr and Kyra Richardson, who also does jumps. Andrea Zelano, who is coming off a strong basketball season, will be counted on in the shot put and discus. Sophomore Kendall Davy, a hurdler and sprinter, was impressive last season while juniors Nicole Demars and Mary Cate Flaherty add strength in distance and middle distance events, respectively.
I think our strength will be in middle distance and distance events, where we are solid,” said Jellerson. “We have good numbers with 45 girls out, and a lot back from our unbeaten NEC champion indoor team. There is also some really good young talent, but the biggest concern is depth.”