Team: Track and field
Coaches: Christian Gilbert and Tom McDonald
Assistant coaches: Nick Hackman, Cindy Shook, Mike Kray, Kevin Miklo, and Cynthia Oberson
Captains: Jeni Haler and Anna Pioske (girls), TBD (boys)
Conf.: Wright County
2012 finish: Last season was successful for the Wildcat girls, who captured the Wright County Conference Championship by one-half point over Annandale on May 17. The girls also won meets at Delano, Annandale, and at home, while finishing second three times, including True Team Sections on May 10.
The girls advanced Anna Pioske (400-meter run) and the 4×200 relay team of Pioske, Miranda Schultz, Kayla Christensen, and Stephanie Frempong-Longdon to the state meet.
The boys saw less glory in 2012 than their female counterparts. Finishing tenth of ten teams in the conference, the boys peaked in April by finishing second at Delano and Orono. The Wildcats were also third at another Delano meet. Illness and injury shadowed the team during the season.
Five new school records were set last season by Wildcat track and field athletes.
Key losses: The Wildcats lost a handful of seniors from last season on both the boys’ and girls’ teams.
But no senior will be missed more than Stephanie Frempong-Longdon, who set new school records in the long and triple jump events last season. Gilbert said Frempong-Longdon will be a “huge hole” on the girls’ team this year.
“That was a big loss,” he said.
Key returnees: Returning this year for the girls are last year’s state entrants in Christensen, Pioske, and Schultz, along with solid team members in Morgan Iverson, Lexi Willems, Rhi McNulty, and Carly Vlasky, who is back from injury.
“Those are our powerhouses,” Gilbert said.
On the boys’ side, David Hughes and Tim Gray are back in the jumps, while Ryan Christensen, Adam Kirsch, Ian Manske, and Ben Vaske will lead the distance runners. The sprints will see the return of Cody Ellis, Charles Frempong-Longdon, Jacob Fettig, and William Schultz.
Teams to beat: This season, the girls are looking at Orono and last year’s conference runner-up Annandale as the teams to beat. With nearly all of their point scorers returning this year, the Waconia girls are looking to once again be a strong force in the WCC.
With the not-so-promising 2012 season behind them, the Wildcat boys have nowhere to go but up.
“We’re looking at everybody as teams to beat,” Gilbert said.
Last year’s core athletes were juniors and sophomores, so Gilbert and McDonald agree that they have been waiting for this season’s group of upperclassmen for years, calling them the “perfect storm.”
“I’m hoping we can surprise some people in the conference this year,” McDonald said. “We’ve got hard workers.”
Goals: The Wildcats are eyeing a few more school records this season, and have a few athletes who could very well break them. Keep an eye out for Mark Brose, the team’s “stud pole vaulter.” Brose is looking to break the boys’ pole vaulting record, set in 1997 by U. Hong at 13 feet, 7 inches.
For the girls, Paige Notch is looking to take down the female pole vault record, set in 2003 by K. Paulson at 9-01.00. Also for the Wildcats, Pioske is closing in on the 400-meter dash record of 59.10 seconds, set by Jamie Lubitz in 1994.
First meets: The Wildcats opened the season on March 28 at Monticello, allowing many new varsity members a chance to stretch their legs. Refreshing from years past, the boys’ team had multiple finishers in the top 10 of many events, beginning with Tyler Drew and Lucas Zimmer, who finished sixth and tenth in the 55-meter dash. Miles Trujillo was fifth in the 200-meter dash and third in the 400-meters. Teammate Ben Hanson was tenth in the 400.
In the 2,000-meter run, Matt Gohman finished ninth, followed by Evan Kalthoff in tenth, with three more Wildcats in succession behind them. Ryan Kruchten finished sixth in the high jump, while Zimmer and Alex Tyron-Tasson were fourth and tenth in the long jump. Kevin Logelin finished tenth in the triple jump, and in the shot put, Hanson, Brose, and Zach Christians were second, sixth, and eighth respectively.
The girls were 3-4-5-6 in the 55-meter dash with Sally Russell, Marya Haughland, Allie Marrs, and Makayla Williams. Marrs and Williams were also seventh and tenth in the 200-meters. Waconia’s McKenna Turner finished eighth in the 400-meter dash, while Carissa Dock was seventh in the 800.
The ‘Cats were 8-9-10-11 in the 2,000-meter run with Abby Fahrenkamp, Gabbi Brakemeirer, Colleen Nazzaro, and Dock. Haughland was fourth in the 55-meter hurdles, while Laura Grimm finished tenth.
In the field events, Notch was third in the pole vault, while Courtnie Stoddard, Marrs, Megan Kirsch, and Sammi Lund were 3-5-6-8 in the long jump. Stoddard was second in the triple jump, followed by Kirsch in sixth. Williams finished third in the shot put.
Waconia will host D-C and Mound on April 29. The annual home invitational will be May 2.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com