By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
With SPVA Conference and district championships in the history book for 2013, Chase County’s boys’ track team is looking to match that or even improve this season.
Head Coach Carl Zuege said those championships and the fact eight of nine 2013 state qualifiers returned this season indicate another good year.
“But, we still need to put in the work,” he said.
And, so far, he and the other track coaches like what they’ve seen.
That’s important as the first meet arrives this Saturday in Cambridge.
“It seems the kids are working harder than last year. I’m impressed with their workouts and enthusiasm,” Zuege said.
With 36 on the boys’ roster, that’s a big plus, too. Zuege believes that’s the highest number out since he’s been at CCS.
“Our kids want to be out,” he said. He credits a strong junior high program and “awesome facilities” for that.
When asked about conditioning, Zuege said he never feels the team is in shape for the first meet. He worries most about the mid and long distance runners, but six to eight who weren’t out for winter sports ran regularly in between seasons, he said.
The first meet Saturday will tell them where they are with conditioning, he added.
The experience back this year tops the list of team strengths, Zuege said. Two of those returning state qualifiers, Kevin German (300 m. hurdles) Justus Wallin (shot) were state medalists in 2013. Wallin also competed in the discus at state.
Other state qualifiers back include Shay Eidson, triple jump; German and Kelton Fisher, high hurdles; Holden Dreiling, 1600; and three of the four 1600 meter relay team members—Dan Sullivan, David Almanza and German. Trey Milner was an alternate last year on that relay and will be up to replace Kale Gockley, who graduated.
Zuege also said the team will be strong in its mid and long distances.
Besides Eidson who will be expected to score points again this season, Zuege said the team’s other jumpers show some promise.
They’ll still be looking for athletes to step up in the sprints. Trey Milner is expected to score in that area.
This year, Perkins County will host the SPVA meet on Friday, May 2. Chase County should be a strong favorite to repeat that championship, Zuege said, but Kimball, who joined the conference last fall, will add an unknown.
The Longhorns will have to make a longer trip than Grant for districts this spring. Bayard is the C-11 district meet host on Thursday, May 15.
Chase County will host its home meet on Tuesday, April 22.
Here is the full Longhorn boys’ track roster by class:
Seniors—Korey Krutsinger, Justus Wallin, Trey Milner, Kevin German, Dan Sullivan, Garret Thompson, Shay Eidson, David Almanza, Luis Rodriguez, Kris Kuhlmann, Sam Cahow.
Juniors—Kelton Fisher, Holden Dreiling, Isaac Sorensen, Jeff Dickey, Travis Luhrs, Stephen Welsh, Sergio Almanza.
Sophomores—Hunter Dillan, Destyn Milner, Indy Smith, Caleb Bubak, Mason Meeske, Eli Engbrecht.
Freshmen—Zac Space, Dakota Wallin, Cody Williams, Nolan Spady, Mike Martinez, Ike Maxwell, Bryson Fisher, Hunter Bartels, Tagan Mays, Roper McBride, Angel Hinojosa, Trace Helser.
All 36 on the team will be competing Saturday as teams can enter both in JV and varsity divisions.
Field events will start at 9 a.m. MT, and will be completed before the running events begin at about 11:15 a.m. MT with the 3200 meter relay.
Other teams expected Saturday include Alma, Elm Creek, Southwest and Wauneta/Palisade.
There are no preliminaries at Cambridge. All field event athletes will have four attempts and medalists in the running events will be based on the heat times.