The Marion Warriors track and field team is no stranger to the state meet. Boys and girls have netted state championships with fair regularity over the past decade or so.
But head coach Grant Thierolf is striving for something more.
“The one thing we haven’t done is bring home a state trophy, and you get that for first, second, or third place,” he said. “We need to get over that hump a little bit.”
Thierolf said he’s had teams finish in the top 10, even the top five, but a top-three team finish has eluded the Warriors.
Thierolf thinks his teams have what it takes this season to chase it down.
“It’s fun to be out in that infield looking back at the stands for the trophy presentation,” Thierolf said. “And we hope to get them there.”
6 seniors lead boys
Kyle Palic, whose name has been synonymous with success for Marion sports all school-year long, tops a list of six seniors who hope to make an impact this year.
Palic is a jack of all throws. He placed at state the last two years in discus, and placed last year in shot put and javelin, Thierolf said.
Seth Snelling, meanwhile, placed each of the last two years in the pole vault.
On the track, Brad Stone and Tyler Neufeld excel in the hurdles and the middle-distance sprints, respectively. Stone also runs the 4x400 relay and Neufeld pole vaults as well.
Braden Fahey and Quinton Hett provide versatility, Thierolf said. He cited Hett’s jumping abilities and Fahey’s leadership as great strengths that complement the team well.
“We really look forward to working with them,” he said.
Thierolf said 27 boys are out for the team, and he said this year’s squad has a lot of young talent as well.
Jack Schneider, Colin Williams, and Tyler Palic could be future centerpieces for the program.
“But they’re freshmen,” Thierolf added, “so they haven’t done anything yet.”
Small roster for girls
On the girls’ side of things, the roster is smaller at about 15, but Thierolf thinks they have the balance to make it work.
“We lost four girls that were seniors for us last year that were a pretty solid backbone for our team,” Thierolf said. “There aren’t that many girls out, but the ones we have are experienced and have competed at a very high level for their years here.”
Among them is junior Marshelle Mermis, who was part of a 4x400 relay team that won state last year.
Marissa Jacobson brings a state championship in the triple jump into her sophomore season. She also served as the opening leg for the state champion relay squad.
Junior Kristen Herzet has been a “good thrower” the last couple years in all three throwing events, Thierolf said.
“We look forward to seeing what she can do,” he said.
Junior Kirsten Hansen, who missed last season with a torn ACL, will return to the field for pole vaulting. She’ll try to replace Alicia Maloney, who won state last year before graduating.
Junior McKenzee Remmers developed into a good 800 runner last season, Thierolf said.
“Of course, she’s willing to run anything from a 400 to a 3,200,” he added.
The girls’ team isn’t reliant on senior leadership, and has a lot of young talent, but Thierolf said that’s not necessarily a problem in track and field.
“Fast is fast, it doesn’t matter what age you are,” he said. “Oftentimes girls kind of fit into the varsity level in their freshman year.”