The Knoxville Panther varsity track team hopes to pick up where they left off a year ago.
Last May the Panthers finished second in the Class 3A State Track Meet, just 1 point behind 2013 State Champion Pella High.
The Little Dutch had 46 state points compared to 45 for the Panthers.
The 2013 Panthers set a total of 10 new school records during the season. Colton Spaur had three, Ryan Douglas two, Wick Cunningham and Jacob Moats one each and Tanner Dunkin already has three.
Dunkin is the only one of the group back on the 2014 KHS roster, the rest have graduated.
Dunkin ran on the Panthers 2013 state championship 4x400 relay team that set a new school record time of 3:21.68.
He was also fourth at state in the open 100 with a time of 11.48 seconds.
The Panther distance medley relay team was third at state a year ago and Dunkin was on that squad as well.
The cupboard isn’t bare for Coach Mike Cunningham II’s Panther charge this season.
The 2014 squad has 20 individuals on the varsity, 15 of them runners, the other five are throwers.
In addition to Dunkin the Panthers have 10 other letter winners back. The list includes throwers Nathan Winters and Austin Ramsey. Winters was a state qualifier a year ago.
Jerry Nichols and Austin Davis are two other Panther letter winners back with state experience.
The rest of the KHS lettermen include Tyler Derringer, Justin Karns, Ben Reichert, Bryce Zoutte, Connor Bailey and Brad Shearer.
The strength of the 2014 squad, “That would be sprinters and hurdlers and hopefully the throws,” Cunningham said.
The area of concern to open the season are the lack of distance runners over 800 meters.
Cunningham said Pella looks to be strong again in the Little Hawkeye Conference as they are the defending conference and state champions.
Knoxville is looking for a top tier finish in the league this year.