After resurrecting the program at Hilmar High back in 2009, head coach Howie Tremble has been gradually working towards improving and growing the team. His efforts have paid off and this year's Yellowjacket roster is almost double last year's team.
“We have had our small gathering and have gradually increased every year, but not like this year... we have almost twice as many kids come out,” Tremble said.
The Yellowjackets also had their first runner make State in some time. Kenzy Spears was the first runner to make it in over two decades.
“It's building a program is what it is,” Tremble said. “We are trying to become competitive in the TVL, but it's tough with Riverbank and Hughson dominating almost up to the state level but the everlasting challenge is no hills in Hilmar so we try to be creative to train the kids for the season.”
Despite having only one senior on the girls and boys side, the 'Jackets are ready to compete in the Trans Valley League.
Natalie Gutierrez is the lone senior for the girls and Mason Magel will lead the boys as the only senior.
“Last year we placed fourth and that was the best since I've been out here so the goal this year is to bump up a placing in league,” Tremble added. “Boys want to make Sections as a team. I don't know if we've ever had a running team make Sections. So with that, were trying to make a push.”
The Yellowjackets will participate in the Running of the Warriors on Aug. 29 at Cal State Stanislaus, and their first TVL Meet is set for 3:30 p.m. Sept. 2 at Legion Park in Modesto.