Black Bears prep for track season

GARDEN CORNERS – Following a difficult season debut, the Big Bay de Noc Black Bears hope to experience greater success in future track meets this season.

Big Bay’s boys collected five points and the girls failed to score in Thursday’s Superior Central Invitational at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome.

The Black Bears, who have 10 boys and 10 girls this season, resume Tuesday at Rapid River.

“It’s still early in the conditioning process,” said coach Dave Partyka. “I just want the kids to have fun and gain some confidence.”

Senior Cole Potvin, the defending Upper Peninsula Division 3 400-meter champ, was absent from the opener.

“Cole is just a great athlete and competitor,” said coach Dave Partyka. “He went undefeated in the 400 last year.”

Other leaders are senior Perry Tatrow and junior Nick Knudson in the weight events.

“Perry and Nick played football last fall at Manistique (through a co-op venture),” said Partyka. “They worked hard during the off-season and have done a nice job preparing for track. They’re also helping the younger throwers a lot with technique. We’re hoping to see improvement from them.”

The girls, comprised mainly of underclassmen, are led by sophomores Courtney Damon (weight events) and Ilana Cooper (middle distance).

“We have a real young team,” said Partyka. “This group won the freshman-sophomore meet at Bark River-Harris last year. Ilana did pretty well in the 400 last year and we may move her up to the 800. We’re hoping to put together a few good relays. It’s nice to have the numbers to do that. As the season goes on, I’m sure there will be more kids who will step up.”

After Tuesday’s meet, the Black Bears return to Rapid River for the Delta County Invitational on Thursday before heading to Friday’s Manistique Kiwanis Invite.