Morton is not worried how its times and distances look at the start of the boys track and field season.

Morton is not worried how its times and distances look at the start of the boys track and field season.

The Potters are in the same predicament as everyone else in the area — behind last year’s pace because of the brutal March weather.

“Our goal is to peak in May regardless of how the weather is now,” MHS head coach Jason Thiry said.

The April meets, including Tuesday’s home triangular with Canton and Dunlap, are used for training purposes with the big picture in mind.

“We’ve had success with that and we’re sticking with it,” said Thiry of focusing on the Mid-Illini Conference and Class 2A sectional meets in May.

Senior Seth Wilkerson, a first-team all-league recipient a year ago is a stalwart in the sprints. The M-I title winner in the 200 dash, Wilkerson also will run the 100 and 4x100 relay.

Wilkerson joined senior Drew Taphorn and juniors Brett Miller and Breck Swinford on a 4x100 that placed second in the conference meet.

That same quartet earned a berth in the Illinois High School Association Class 2A state finals a week later with a school-record time of 43.55 seconds to win the race at the Dunlap Sectional.

Senior Chase Taphorn is another key sprinter.

“We feel like we are deep in sprinters,” said Thiry. “All the spots are up for grabs, which is only going to make us stronger as the year goes on.”

Morton’s track outlook also is fortified in the distance events.

Returning assistant coach Kevin Hodel, who works with that group, has a nice stable of runners.

Senior Matt Lyons and sophomore Hayden Brown ran at state in the 4x800.

Sophomore Brady Carius enters off a strong boys cross country season and offseason.

Seniors Luke Riffle, Quentin Young and Alex DeLong and sophomore Drew Crocker also are distance candidates.

“They gave us great races last year and provide good leadership,” Thiry said. “They’re a tight-knit group.”

The field events were a little harder to gauge since it is tough to get much accomplished indoors.

Thiry was confident those spots could be filled in appropriately.

“We feel the quality in our numbers is very strong,” said Thiry.

The rest of the Potter roster includes: seniors — Turner Holcombe, Mac Holt, John Kilver and Austin Simmons and junior Alek Atkins.

Sophomores — Jeff Abney, Brandon Bland, Trace Cooper, Nick Erickson, Drake Gillespie, Cody Hilliard, Tanner Hoefling, Ian Hopkins, Josh Kelch, Cole Oliver, Nin Prathertrat, Tristan Reigler, Austin Sievert, Jake Vickerman and Elijah Virgil.

Freshmen — Joel Baum, Matt Doan, Dylan Goodyear, Peyton Hopkins, Hunter Kellenberger, Trevor Knoerle, Mason Lutz, Sam Rodegherio, Nate Schneblin, Clayton Whitaker and Zach Zahn.

Brown, Abney and Miller all placed first in races at the M-I frosh/soph meet in 2012.

The group of ninth graders has the ability to provide competition for the upperclassmen, Thiry said.

Morton lost first-team all-conference performers Beau Swinford (two-time triple jump champion) and Austin Sherwood (discus) to graduation.

Joe Scherer, Austin Bradford and Nick Steffen also departed. They were on the 4x800 team that qualified for state.

The Potters placed fourth in the league meet last year with 65 points. It was their third consecutive upper-division conference finish.

East Peoria is the host of this year’s competition, which is May 7.

Thiry listed two-time defending champ Metamora, Pekin and Dunlap as formidable M-I squads.

As a whole, the area is going to be very strong in boys track, he said. Many local athletes likely will contend for high state places.

“We want to be right there with them,” said Thiry.

Morton’s outdoor season was scheduled to get underway Thursday vs. Normal Community before that meet was canceled.