Another good year on the horizon for Warrior tracksters

Sports reporter

After what was one of the most successful track seasons in nearly 30 years for Marion High School last year, head coach Grant Thierolf still has some remaining talent to work with this season.

Fourteen seniors and/or returning state placers will fill the MHS rosters on the girls' and boys' teams.

Sophomore Julia Zeiner and junior Camille Christensen return as the lone individual medalists on the girls' squad.

Zeiner was second in the long jump and seventh in the 400-meter dash. She also finished 10th in the pole vault.

Christensen earned a sixth-place medal in the 3200m run, and competed in the 1600m run as well.

Three-fourths of the second-place state 4x100m relay team, Zeiner, Kristen Steinborn, and Kayley Heerey, will return as well.

Senior Justin Heidebrecht and sophomore Ryan Jones are back as half of the 4x800m relay team that earned a seventh-place medal at state a year ago.

Luke Gordon (pole vault) and Tylor Neil (triple jump) bring state experience to the squad as well.

The throwing and jumping events will be some of the strongest for the Warrior teams this year.

Senior Austin Hager and sophomores Doug Schroeder and Parker Ash will be the shot put team, while sophomore Nick Klenda and juniors Matt Thierolf and Derek Riggs will compete as well.

However, the trio will concentrate more on the discus throw according to head coach Grant Thierolf.

"We will be very strong in the that event," he said.

The javelin event will be led by junior Mark Kukuk and Mitchell Leppke, and sophomore Sheldon Boone.

Lee Vogel and Sam Ehrlich will add depth to the event.

Freshmen Connor Thierolf, Colin Eurit, and David Smith will begin their careers as throwers as well.

Two seniors, Kimber Hardey, shot put and discus, and Mara Prescott, javelin, will lead a "small but talented" group of throwers, according to Thierolf.

Megan Carter and sophomore Emma Hett will compete in the shot and discus, and Heerey and freshman Emily Hett will throw the javelin.

First-year throwers Melissa Tajchman and Tyshia and Melissa Penwell round out the throwing team.

"We hope to make this area a strong scoring group for our team," Thierolf said.

Another strong point will be the jumpers, which include the state-qualifiers Gordon and Neil.

"Both are a year stronger and look good so far in practice," Thierolf said.

Leppke, senior Austin Hager, sophomore Brady Hudson, and freshman Les Riggs will jump as well.

Junior Brad Klenda will lead the pole vault team which also will include sophomore Randy Carlson and freshman Dillon Richmond.

Zeiner is back to try and best her second-place finish in the long jump for the girls' team.

"She is such a versatile track athlete, that it will be fun finding which events fit her best this year," Thierolf said,

Senior Kalaya Jackson, who has been battling a knee injury, will compete in the long and triple jumps.

"Her hard work will pay off this year," Thierolf said.

Heerey will compete in triple jump as well, and freshmen jumpers Kathy Goering, Emily Hett, and Chassidy Carlson will be "great additions to this already strong group of jumpers," according to Thierolf.

The hurdle events are a different story with just four athletes competing this year.

Junior Elliot Hett will run in the 110 and 300m events and Thierolf expects him to be a standout this year.

Richmond will run both events, and Hudson will compete in the 300m.

As of now there is no female hurdler, but Thierolf said Zeiner could be competitive if they choose to have her compete.

Distance running could be another strong point for MHS with Heidebrecht and Jones leading the way.

Seniors Charlie Holub and Hank Collett will pair with sophomore Louis Holt to compete in the 3200m race.

Four freshmen, Randy Regnier, Andy Shipman, Brandon Meierhoff, and Michael Kirkpatrick, along with sophomore Eric Vogel and juniors James Dye and Adam Regnier all will run various distance races and compete for spots on the 4x800m relay, according to Thierolf.

Christensen will be back concentrating on the 3200m run but also will run the 1600m.

Thierolf said junior Amanda Richmond will be strong in the 800m run, and could be one of the best in the area.

Sophomores Jaclyn DeForest and Bridget Lundy, junior Katie Maag, and freshman Donna Cady round out the distance team.

"They will surprise many with their performances this year," Thierolf said.

The sprinters make up the final group of teams. While they are young, Thierolf feels they are talented there as well.

Sophomore Drew Maddox and junior James Wingfield have impressed Thierolf this year with their improvements on the stating blocks and overall speed.

Sophomore Alex Eurit will compete as well as senior Brett Billings.

"He has worked hard to get to this point in his career and will be a very stable force for us in the 400," Thierolf said of Billings.

Neil, Hudson, Vogel, and Adam Regnier all will run in the 200/400/800 range according to Thierolf.

Heerey and Steinborn will lead the girls in the 100 and 200m sprints and Thierolf said they should score points in every event this season.

Zeiner will be running the 400, and sophomore Danae Edwards will add depth to the squad.

Thierolf expects his teams to compete as they always seem to, and so far in practice he has not been disappointed.

"We have some very good athletes who are getting stronger and faster," he said.

Time will tell Tuesday when they open with the Marion CKTL.