NORTH ADAMS -- Early on, it appears that hurdles will be the strength of the Drury girls' track and field team.
"We have a lot of good hurdlers coming back," coach Jim Buffoni said. "That should be good for us, a nice start any way."
Cori Ghidotti, Alyssa Marceau and Allison Meehan all return from last year's squad as the team's top hurdlers.
Distance runners could also be a strength as much of the girls' cross country team is running this spring. Tia Brown joins the team after being the top runner on the cross country team last fall. Senior Shannon Garvey will look to lead the charge in some of the throwing events. She returns after having a decent year in both the shot put and discus last season.
The team will also feature a slew of new athletes.
"We have a bunch of young kids and we really need to see where they are going to fit," Buffoni said. "We never really have had a ton of jumpers, so we would like to get some of these young sprinters, which we have a few of, and turn them into jumpers, as well."
The team spent Wednesday on the track for the first time since practice began, allowing them to start trying their hands at some of the field events.
"Even if they just want to run, I want them to do something in the field," Buffoni said. "Just so they have something to shoot for and something to have some fun with.
"[Wednesday] is the first time we have had anything out to throw. It looks like they are at least enjoying it, and that's really the goal."
In addition to a lot of younger runners coming out for the team, there are also some upperclassmen giving track and field a try for the first time. Brown is a junior, and will most likely handle the distance events. Senior Ali Tatro is also on the team for the first time.
"Ali Tatro is out for the first time this year, she's hopefully going to add to the running," Buffoni said. "She can probably do just about anything for us; she is pretty athletic."
Youth and inexperience will rule the Drury boys' track and field team.
"The boys are just hard [to evaluate] because they are so young," Buffoni said. "The first week is really getting in shape. We've been on the road for the first few days, just trying to get everyone in shape.
"We have a lot of nice kids. They're just a little inexperienced."
The challenge will be attempting to get those kids the experience and bring them up to speed without pushing them away in the future.
Connor Meehan is a perfect example. The eighth-grader is a distance runner and has shown promise through the early part of the season.
"He looks like he is going to be fairly strong for us," Buffoni said. "But, he's only an eighth-grader so we don't want to run him too much and put too much distance on him. I think he likes it, so we want to keep him around."
With so many young kids on the team, Buffoni and the rest of the coaching staff are focused on giving everyone a chance to try every event. Not only will that allow the team to fill all the events, but it will also give the athletes a chance to try a new event and look to improve.
"We have to find some events for everyone," Buffoni said. "We have to get them in shape so they can run, but also so they can hit the field events and really have something to work on.
"We really just want to let them have fun and pick up some new events that they can really learn and improve on."
While the majority of the team is young, the Blue Devils also return a few key members from last season.
Senior Alex Boulger will look to lead the team in hurdle events this year. Senior Cam Parrino will return this season after being hurt last year. He will most likely be a thrower for the Blue Devils. Matt Scanlon will also help the Blue Devils in the shot put. Ryan Edmonds will lead the team in sprinting events.