Strong sprinters back for WACO track
Both the WACO boys’ and girls’ track and field teams are bringing back some speed this season. The Warrior boys have state qualifiers returning, and expect that they will be as strong in sprints and hurdles as they have the last few years.
“WACO’s tradition in the sprints and hurdles will again be the strength of this team, with three guys back from the state-qualifying shuttle hurdle relay and the distance medley relay,” Coach Shannon Rugg said.
The girls’ team brings back 12 letterwinners, including all four runners on last year’s state-qualifying 4x100-meter relay team.
Returning for the boys is Dylan Carlson, who finished sixth at state in the 110-meter high hurdles last season and got off to a strong start this year with a second-place finish in the event at Washington over the weekend.
Carlson, a senior this year, also qualified for state as part of the shuttle hurdle, distance medley and 4x100-meter relay teams.
The Warriors also bring back junior Brett Hesseltine and sophomore Bryce Achen, who competed in the shuttle hurdle and 4x100 in Des Moines.
WACO graduated the fourth member of the shuttle hurdle relay team, Kevin Anderson, who was also a state-qualifier in the high jump.
At this year’s first outdoor meet, freshman Cornell Hulme joined the three returners in the relay. Rugg names Hulme as a newcomer that will play a big role for the team this season, in both hurdles and sprints.
Another freshman, Jackson Roth, could also have an impact in hurdle races, as well as mid-distance.
Junior Tucker Janecek, a newcomer who will throw shot put, is expected to pick up some of the slack in field events, and fellow junior Josh Shumaker returns to help the team in shot put as well.
Other returners include junior Braden Blake, an 800-meter runner and state qualifier, and mid-distance runner Justyn Chalupa, a sophomore.
The Warriors feel confident that their sprint and hurdle events are covered, but will need some athletes to step up in field events and distance races in order to score points in those areas.
On the girls’ side, WACO returns senior sprinter and high jumper Rosemary Skriver, who qualified for state in the 4x100-meter relay last season.
Skriver’s three teammates in the relay also return: senior Katelyn White, junior Jennie Greene and sophomore Angel Frier.
The Warriors bring back another sprinter in junior Trilby Frier and add freshman sprinter MacKena White — but sprints aren’t the only events the team has covered.
In hurdles, they return four juniors: Greene, Aaliyah Brown, Erika Leichty and Jalyssa Jepson.
They add a couple new mid-distance runners — sophomore Libby Skriver and freshman Halle Kissell — to a pair of returners in the events: junior Gaby Wagler and sophomore Cheyenne Sedlacek, who also runs long distance races.
In throwing events, they add freshman Mayme Hinh to returning junior Leah McElhinney and sophomore Katie Miles.
“Our team is well-balanced and eager to have a great season,” Coach Cinda Blake said. “The keys to our season are preventing injuries, incorporating our all of our nine newcomers, encouraging leadership from our veterans, staying focused on our goals, working as a team and having fun.”
The WACO girls start their outdoor season Thursday at Mediapolis.