Track/field preview


As the 3rd quarter begins track and field athletes will take their marks and put their strengths to the test in the many track and field events. The team lost some of its best athletes including long jumper Courtney Weisenberger who now plays at NAU and relay runner Anais Newenhouse who now goes to U of A. However the team also has many good returning players such as Samara McConnell who placed top three at state in the pole vault event back-to-back years and has committed to Ole Miss along with Kylie Miller who has also placed at state back-to-back years in the distance event. According to 3rd year coach Bryan Idleman the team’s strengths are in the pole vault, jumps, javelin, distance, and sprints. 

  This season the boys track team got a new head coach; ASU hall of famer Clif McKenzie, he was a part of the record setting 1977 4×400 meter relay team when he and his teammates clocked in at 3:01.74, he is a national champion and all-American in track and field. Currently he serves as an administrator for the USA track and field team where he works with the country’s top athletes.

 “I will need to establish a track culture,” said McKenzie, “having our Perry athletes focus on thinking and training as elite athletes.”

 Coach McKenzie praised the other members of the track and field coaching staff saying they were “outstanding” and he was “excited” to coach with them.

 McKenzie mentioned that assistant principal Jennifer Burks was a big part of why he decided to coach at Perry.

  “She has a strong love for this school and for all the sports programs. That sold me.”

Principal Dan Serrano had some good things to say about Coach McKenzie

 “He’s big time,” said Serrano, “he’s changing some things around here with track.”

The team will need to double its efforts if they are to defeat teams like Chandler who had three athletes win gold last season, Highland who had two athletes win gold and two others win silver and Desert Vista who had five athletes win gold. The pumas placed 2nd in the region last season and 5th in the state and placed 3rd in two events. The team has not gotten 1st place at state since 2017 where they secured gold in two events.