Eagle boys poised to stay ahead of field
WORTHINGTON -- Another Red Rock Conference track and field season is set to begin.
While every team has lost some key performers, there are many returning athletes who will look to help their squads succeed this spring. Here's a look at how things shape up for the boys.
Returning 12 letterwinners, including seven juniors, the Southwest Christian Eagles hope to be in the mix for another conference title.
The Eagles won the team titles at both the RRC and Sub-Section 10 meets a year ago, and head coach Randy Pfeifle brings back a solid group of athletes to build around.
Led by sophomore Nicholas Pfeifle, the Eagles appear to be strong in the middle distance events. Junior Trevor Holm, and sophomores Kendall Stroeh and Tyler Van Schepen are also expected to compete in the middle distance events.
Junior Jordan Spronk leads the returning group of sprinters, which also includes juniors Brandon De Weerd and Kyle Schelhaas, and freshman Derek Tinklenberg. Junior Tyler Mouw is the team's top shot put and discus thrower.
Juniors Ethan Spronk and Grant Vis return in the distance events, while senior Aaron Sandbulte is the top hurdler coming back. Senior Eric Bork, junior Brooks Knutson and freshman Steven Talsma will compete in the pole vault.
Murray County Central
New head coach Tim Bobeldyk takes over for the Murray County Central Rebels, a team that brings back nine letterwinners.
Seniors Anthony Gleis (400, 300 hurdles), Nate Ellens (distance) and Tony Falk (sprints, long jump) are the top athletes back.
Seniors Mark York and Nick Harmsen will both compete in the middle-distance events.
Juniors Cole Hegstad (sprints, jumps), Jeremy Storm (sprints), Patrick Peterson (pole vault, sprints) and Scott Veenhuis (middle distance) are also looking to contribute.
While the Fulda Raiders do not have many veterans, they do have a number of kids with the potential to contribute in a variety of events.
Seniors Daniel Claussen and Miguel Lavoie give the Raiders two middle distance runners to build around.
Juniors Chris Witzel (pole vault), Tony Claussen (weights), Brett Sandhurst (high jump) and David Crowley (sprints) return with experience in their respective events.
Sophomores Tyler Goedtke (sprints) and Chris Dardis (jumps) are two of the other athletes head coach Brad Holinka will look to for leadership.
With three talented upperclassmen and a strong group of sophomores returning, the Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth/Edgerton Patriots have the makings of a solid squad this spring.
Seniors Kevin Vander Schaaf (sprints) and Cody Rozeboom (sprints, jumps) bring good athleticism to the team, as does junior Cody Schilling -- who will contribute in the jumping events and some sprint relays.
Five sophomores -- Tyler Paulsen, Halden Van Wyhe, Brent Kramer, Dustin Verhey and Terence Reid -- lead a versatile group of distance runners.
Head coach Tom Goehle has 89 total runners (boys and girls) in grades 7-12 competing this spring, a good indicator of the kind of depth the Patriots will likely have.
Two seniors return for head coach John Cselovszki and the Southwestern United Wildcats, who are looking for several underclassmen to step up and contribute.
Shaun Mathias (sprints, long jump) and Lloyd Kalfs (high jump, sprints) are back for their final seasons and will be expected to lead the Wildcats.
Sophomores Nick Ober (jumps, middle distance) and Jeremy Nelson (middle distance) have potential, as does junior Dustin Casper in the sprints.
Sophomores Jake Smith and Dillon Hansen will compete in the shot put and discus events, while classmate Mike Stenzel could help in the sprints.
With a pair of sophomores leading the way, the Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin Wolverines will be a very young and inexperienced team.
Sophomores Dalton Wall (sprints, long/triple jump) and Jacob Freitag (sprints, high jump) will be the leaders for interim head coach Paul Metcalf's club.
Ethan Jacobs could be the team's top thrower and a middle distance runner, while James Sawatzky has looked good in the hurdle events.
A number of other athletes have brought their versatility to early-season practices, including Jared Schlomann, Vannasay Thirakoune and Air Chantharak.
Featuring at least seven athletes, the group of distance runners for the Adrian Dragons should be the top strength this year.
Seniors Ethan Wieneke, Aaron Mormann and Dustin Lonneman, juniors Jarod Boltjes and Jack Albertson, sophomore Chris Reisdorfer, and freshman Jordan Pater make up that group, all of who also ran for head coach Doug Petersen during the cross country season.
Senior Blake Springman is one of the area's top throwers, while seniors Preston Engelkes and Trent Lutmer join juniors Derrick Everett and Ajuda Alwal among the sprinters.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central
Bringing back 10 letterwinners, the Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central Chargers will strive for improvement under head coach Steve LeBoutillier.
Seniors Andy Helmer and Prestin Parker are back for another year, joining juniors Will Spaeth and Forrest Asp with the most experience.
Sophomores Jace Jarmer and Theo Johnson, and freshmen Garett Amundson, Spencer Knott, Jon LeBoutillier and Evan Madson are the other returning letterwinners.
Juniors Shotaro Asano and RJ Pfarr, and sophomores Dan McClellen and Josh Merrick are a few of the other promising prospects for the Chargers.