By William /

LITTLE RIVER – If you do not know much about the Little River track/field past do not worry because the future is young, athletic, and motivated for success in 2022.

The reason for the optimism is the fact that eight Redskin athletes qualified for the 2021 state track meet and all eight of those athletes return for Betsy Lafferty’s fifth season as head coach.

Of those eight that went to state in 2021, the two Redskin boys were just sophomores, and four of the five Lady Redskins were just freshman along with one junior.

“We return all key state qualifiers,” noted coach Lafferty. “We also have a couple of kids who just missed trips to state. This entire group is an extremely motivated and competitive bunch.”

Returning to lead the Little River boys team will be junior Braxton Lafferty who qualified for state last season in the javelin and triple jump, the latter of which he finished seventh. Junior Treyton Olander also returns after doing the long jump at state.

Giving the Redskin boys an added bonus on the track this spring will be the arrival of sophomore Andrew Smith, a transfer from Sharon Springs High School whereas a freshman he qualified for state in both the high jump and 400 meters.

Rylan Konen, another junior also returns for the Redskin boys.

Where coach Lafferty gets excited is with the Lady Redskins due to the return of six state qualifiers that includes the entire state qualifying Little River girls 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay teams.

Senior Lily Boughfman, just as she did on the basketball court will lead the team again in 2022 after going to state and throwing the discus as well as running legs on both the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay quartets.

The big star of the young Lady Redskins is sophomore Ashley Stephenson who as just a freshman went to the state meet and ran legs on both the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay while also finishing ninth in the triple jump and fifth in the 800 meters.

Sophomores Alaina Eck, Aubrey Olander, and Kami Grasser round out the returning 4×400 relay team while Eck and fellow sophomore Kate Ellwood ran the other two legs of the 4×100 meter relay. Both Eck and Ellwood also qualified for state in the field events with Eck doing the triple jump and Ellwood doing the high jump.

Coach Lafferty concluded her brief pre-season reflections by adding, “this group makes coaching fun, and the future of Little River track/field is on the rise.”

The Little River track/field teams open their 2022 season on the road at Fairfield on Tuesday, April 5.

(William is a free-lance writer covering McPherson County Activities – he can be reached at