For the Joel Barlow High indoor track teams it will be a matter of quality as opposed to quantity as it prepares to start the 2012-13 season.
The Falcons may not be very large in terms of numbers. Between the boys and girls teams they total less than 30 athletes.
Yet the number of runners who are competitive and performance-oriented is higher than it has ever been, according to fifth-year head coach Jim Murray.
Since practice started last week the Falcons have been fortunate enough to have favorable weather when training outside. Even when colder conditions prevail that will not disrupt their practice schedule.
“You have to go out,” said Murray, who will be assisted by Russ Fallo. “You have to train. We practice outside until weather forces us inside.”
Barlow will get an early glimpse of how the training is coming along when it takes part in a pre-season meet at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven on Saturday.
The Falcons already know in what events some athletes will compete. Many are back from last season’s teams. Both finished ninth at the South-West Conference finals. The boys later took 12th out of 27 at the state Class M finals while the girls finished 22nd out off 33.
The teams did lose some talent to graduation since then. Missing from the boys team is former captain Duncan Tennant, a distance runner.
Austin Sundlof, the SWC runner-up in the 55-meter hurdles, is also gone, as are distance runners Jon Pelzar and Neal Gossain.
On the girls team the Falcons are without former captain Shea Barickman, a sprinter who was SWC runner-up in the 300 meters. Barlow will also miss Alex Bender, who was third in the league in the 55 hurdles.
Much of Barlow’s experience this season will rest with senior Logan Fulton. A distance runner, he was second in the 1,000 meters in the SWC and third in Class M.
Classmate Colin Rooney will also compete in the distance events, as will Helen Phillips, also a senior.
From the junior class the Falcons have a number of distance runners, including Olivia Wilson, Caitlin Neary and Sophie Ota. New to the team is Maddie Price, one of several cross country runners during the fall season.
Barlow’s boys team will also have much experience in distance running with juniors Colby Johnson, Henry Provonost, Steve St. Raymond, Greg Sullivan and Justin Lee. Sophomore Sven Vogel, who ran track last spring, is also on the team this year.
“We have high expectations of him,” said Murray.
Classmate Louis Grassi could compete in the sprints and the long jump, according to Murray. Freshmen Zach Boland and Wes Bodkin are also showing the potential to score points.
The Falcons open the season on Dec. 15 at the Bishop Loughlin Games in New York City.