• November 14, 2019

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Permian returns plenty, Santiago takes over at OHS - Odessa American: Sports

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GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Permian returns plenty, Santiago takes over at OHS

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2019 5:05 pm

After last year’s performance, expectations have never been higher for the Permian girls track and field team, heading into the 2019 season.

“Last year, we won every single meet including the district championship,” said Permian head coach Hilberto Ochoa. “But we had a very young team and we only lost two really good throwers. Coming back this year, looking at our strengths, we’re going to have a strong relay teams.

“Our 4x100 relay team is going to be good. We have a lot of great girls returning. The expectation is to raise the level and take this track team to the next level.”

Last spring, the Lady Panthers’ dominance included winning the District 2-6A title after scoring 133 points to finish ahead of Midland High.

That was accomplished with a team of mostly underclassmen.

“We were young last year,” Ochoa said. “We had a lot of sophomores and juniors. But it’s great to see them coming back. Our relay teams just have a lot of speed coming back for us. Our strength is going to be our speed.”

But with a number of returning athletes, Ochoa stressed that his team can’t get too cocky.

“I think a lot of it is having the girls stay focused and know that last year is last year,” Ochoa said. “We have to make sure that we’re focused and matured from last year.

“A lot of these freshmen girls helped us win a lot of meets for us last year. We’re going to have to be humble and know that this district is very tough.”

Permian begins its season today at the Tall City Relays at Memorial Stadium in Midland.

“It’s the first meet,” Ochoa said. “It’s the first time Midland has changed it. It’ll be good to have a meet that’s close to home.

“I’m not going to run all of our girls at full speed. We’re going to see where we’re at. It’s a pre meet for us. We have certain goals and we just need to plan a week ahead and we’ll achieve our goals.”

For Ochoa, it’ll be the little things that he’ll be looking out for in the Lady Panthers’ opening meet.

“I want us to make sure that we’re warmed up properly,” Ochoa said. “I tell our high jumpers that as long as they get over the bar for this first meet, we’ll be good. It’s the little things. Our relays are where we need them.”

Across town, the Lady Bronchos are entering a new era with Ricky Santiago taking over for Tracey Borchardt.

Santiago was a long-time assistant in the program, so the transition won’t be that difficult.

For Santiago, it’s taking a little adjusting to get used to life as the head coach.

“I didn’t really worry too much about the little things as an assistant in previous years,” Santiago said. “I just did what I needed to do.

“But now as a head coach, I’m looking over everything and I’m a little nervous. I’m worried that I’ll mess something up.”

Regardless, he’s very much looking forward to this season.

“I’m very excited,” Santiago said. “We’re a young team. We have a bunch of good upperclassmen. I’m looking forward to coaching everyone.”

Odessa High, which also will be competing at the Tall City Relays, is hoping to improve on last year’s last place finish at the District 2-6A championships.

“The strength, I think will be the distance,” Santiago said. “I think we’re going to be very good. I have a good feeling about our 100 meters runners as well as those in the 200-meters and the 1600.”

But the throwing events could be another issue for the Lady Bronchos.

“Our weakness is going to be our throwing events because we don’t have that many girls in the throwing events,” Santiago said. “I have two very good coaches who are working hard to get them better. We’re a young team.”

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelba

Odessa, TX

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