Effingham senior thrower Nate Boggs shattered a school record last year in the shot put with his distance of 54 feet, 0.5 inches, and placed seventh at the IHSA Class 2A state meet at Charleston in the process.
This year, boys track coach Terry Harbaugh hopes to increase the number of state qualifiers without Boggs on the roster, and he believes he has just the group to do it.
"I am really happy with the kids who came out," he said. "A big team at the state, that's how I see it. I want to go into each meet with people saying, 'Oh no, Effingham is here.'"
Senior Taylor Fatheree and exchange student Kohdai Nishida should have a lot to say about that. Fatheree returns as a distance runner for Harbaugh's squad, and had an impressive showing at the year's first meet in Carbondale on March 2.
"Taylor has been been training hard," Harbaugh said. "He's doing quite well right now."
In both the 800 and 1600 meters, Fatheree crossed the finish line in fourth place, and did so among some of the top runners across the state.
"The 800 to 1600 races are pretty important," Harbaugh said, "and Taylor is going to be the main person point-wise in that group all season."
Nishida was a bit of a question mark for Harbaugh coming off a solid soccer season, as the coach had only heard rumors about his talents.
So far, Nishida has lived up to those rumors.
"I didn't know what Kohdai could do," Harbaugh said. "I knew he was a talented soccer player, heard he had good speed. It was nice to see him to do so well."
Nishida finished sixth in the long jump with his distance of 21 feet 2 inches, but he wasn't done yet. Nishida finished 17th in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.52, contributing to an eye-opening first meet.