Waconia track and field preview

The Waconia track and field team has been a powerhouse of late, and the ‘Cats look to continue their rise.

“Our guys showed a lot of improvement last year, I think they’ll capitalize,” said coach Christian Gilbert.

“[The girls] have a year under their belt,” coach Tom McDonald added. “They’re not seasoned vets, but we have a few juniors who are coming into their potential.”

The Waconia track and field program sent a total of 13 competitors to the state meet last year, and the ‘Cats competed in 11 events during the 2-day state meet. While Waconia did lose some of those competitors to graduation, there are plenty of talented kids still in the program.

“Watch out,” 2016 graduate Alex Carrabre said after last season. “We’ve got some really good guys coming up. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Waconia.”

The Wildcats look to get off to a good start this Friday when they head to Irondale for a large meet with a lot of entries.

“We’re going to bring a huge team over there and give a lot of kids some shots, which as head coaches that’s when we see our new talent shine through,” Gilbert said.

The opening meet will give the ‘Cats a chance to evaluate their talent, as the number of participants on the track and field team continue to grow.

“We have more depth this year than we’ve had in a while,” McDonald said.

That depth will help replace some of the senior class that departed, while also giving coaches a chance to work with the young athletes.

“We have so many developing kids,” Gilbert said. “Ms. Boyer coming in as an avid runner and just working with those developing kids, I really think we will see the benefit of that next year. I hate calling it a rebuilding year . . . we’ve just got really tough competitors all over the place.”

“It’s a reloading year,” added McDonald.

Waconia got off to a good start on the year at the indoor meet in Mankato Saturday, including a record-breaking performance from Caden Turner. The junior broke the previous meet record of 8.50 seconds in the 60 meter hurdles by racing to a time of 8.36.

“I’ve just been working hard all winter,” Turner said. “I’ve had a lot of meets before that, more so than the other guys there. I had a lot more experience going into it and I was just mentally prepared as well.”

Breaking a record before the outdoor season starts bodes well for the ‘Cats, who are looking forward to another strong season.

“It feels pretty good,” Turner said. “It was really nice to go out there and run a time like that opening up the season.”