Improvement is constantly sounding off inside the eardrums of so many athletes. Especially with the start of the season creeping up.


With the 2017-2018 season already underway, the Perry Jayettes track & field squad should learn to hear that word from now to the last race they embark on.


It will be head coach Matthew Hardy’s signature word as he guides his team beyond the regular season and into the Drake University field.


“Continual improvement throughout the season as we prepare for the conference and state-qualifying meets,” he said.


Hardy, who’s been coaching the Jayettes for several years, feels that this squad has so much promise and the ability to make it far.


“From a relay perspective, our success will vary meet to meet,” he said. “There are a handful of girls (seniors Isabel Saemisch and Damaris Robles, sophomore Jaky Guardado, and freshmen Jasmine Shriver, Quinn Whiton and Kennedy Tunink) that will team up with Sidney [Vancil] and Grace [Stewart] to form our best relays.”


Vancil and Stewart have competed at high levels the previous three seasons, according to Hardy. They will be looked at to lead the team.


The duo will compete in what Hardy describes as one of the squad’s strongest events. Vancil takes her stride in the 800-meter run while Stewart will lace it up in the 3000.


Hardy is confident that his two athletes will set the tone for the Jayettes to become stronger in other events. Especially since the team is absent of some familiar faces.


“The team will miss four state qualifiers from the previous seasons,” Hardy said. “Emma Olejniczak, Haley Vaughn, and Rachel Kinney do not return because they graduated. Breanna Penenger has other commitments that kept her from competing her senior year.”


The team began their quest for a state appearance on March 29, when they hosted a slew of teams at this season’s Davis relays.


It was a fifth place finish for the Jayettes who’s 72 points placed them 51 points over sixth place the Saydel Eagles.


Stewart led the group in individual finishes when she crossed the 150-meter run finish line in second place with a time of 5:32.86. She also placed third in the 3000.


Both Vancil and teammate Jasmine Shriver earned third place finishes. Vancil for her 29.56 in the 200, and Shriver for her long jump of 14-01.75


In team events, the 800-sprint medley squad legged out a first place win with a time of 2:00.50. The girls distance medley relay team also earned the top spot with a time of 4:45.83.


Rounding out the top three finished for Perry was the 4x400 meter team who record third with a time of 4:45.04.


Overall, Panorama took first with 167 points, followed by Carroll with 112, then AC/GC with 96 and Winterset with 77.