For small schools, it can be tough to compete in the Berks League when it comes to track and field. It takes a lot of athletes to fill a squad, and smaller schools have a smaller number of students.

The Tulpehocken High School boys' and girls' track and field teams have struggled to get wins over recent years, but they are working hard to build a program up to the point of competing with the bigger schools.

Who knows if this will be the year, but head coach Jen Kerchner likes what she sees in her young competitors. There are a lot of younger athletes on this year's team, but there is talent to go along with that youth.

"We're looking forward to a successful season,' said Kerchner. "We have many new faces this year and lot's of talent. As we build on the program and work together, we look forward to watching these athletes achieve their goals.

On the boys side of the ledger, the team is led by the 4 x 100 relay team of Rob Ekvall, Dwayne Bryant, Daniel Witmer and Andrew Risser. They have the potential to break a school record, and are aiming for a district and state berth.

Bryant, a senior, will also compete in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Kerchner believes he can do very well in all of those events.

Risser is the new kid on the block. A freshman, he holds the junior high record in the 400 meters, long jump and high jump. You never know what you're going to get from a freshman, but this kid has the potential to make a big impact on the team this season.

Witmer is also a freshman who competes in the sprints. He, too, is a junior high record-holder in the 100 meters. He's a bright prospect that should shine over the next four years.

Ekvall, a junior, will compete in the 100 and 200 meter runs.

On the girls' side, Marissa Loeb is a talented pole vaulter in her sophomore season.

Olivia Stephan is a freshman who is poised to make her mark in the 200 meter run. She holds the junior high school record in that event and placed in the top eight in counties last year.

It's a very young team so it's hard to predict what kind of season it will be for these teams. But win or lose, there is enough talent around to make the season interesting.

"The success of this team will come from hard work and working together,' said Kerchner.

The Trojans opened the season on March 26 at Berks Catholic. Their first home meet will be on April 1, against Wyomissing at 3:45 p.m.