The 2017 Longhorn boys’ track team includes, front from left, Bryce Zuege, Trevin Martin, Will Kuenne, Scott Wheeler, Bennett Bauerle, Ike Maxwell, Trevor Peterson, middle row from left, Asst. Coach Bob Holman, Kobe Clevenger, John Lewis, Eli Hinojosa, Bo O’Neil, Mikael Kuhlmann, Juan Venegas, Angel Romero, Dylan Dreiling, Head Coach Carl Zuege, back from left, Jayden German, Parker Dillan, Joel DaMoude, Kalen Wallin, Evan Fisher, Cody Williams, Dakota Wallin, Caleb Weiss, Stephen Johnson, Francisco Barrientos, Bryson Fisher, Hunter Bartels, Tagan Mays and Jack Bauerle. Not pictured—Noah Griffin, Landis Beverly and Kadin Vrbas. (Johnson Publications photo)
Longhorn boys looking to 2017 track season opener this week
It’s been difficult getting all of the boys to at least one track practice together, but Chase County Coach Carl Zuege said they’ll be at the season opener today (Thursday) in Grant, weather permitting.
The Perkins County season opener was cancelled last year due to weather, and forecasts early this week looked dim for this Thursday.
However, Zuege hopes the meet is on so coaches can pin down some times and marks.
This year’s Longhorn boys’ team has 32 on the roster, and the team is off to a “pretty good start,” Zuege said.
“I never feel we are ready for the first one,” he said Monday. Part of that is due to large number of other activities that are taking athletes away from practice.
“Our kids are busy,” he said.
However, with one exception—a hold-over winter sports season injury—the team is healthy and Zuege sees a number of team strengths as the season gets underway.
The team has three returning state qualifiers back, all who are expected to contribute a lot of points again this season.
Senior Cody Williams was a bronze medalist at state in the high jump last year. Other state qualifiers back are Hunter Bartels and Dakota Wallin, also seniors, who competed in the shot and discus in Omaha.
Williams is expected to lead the team in the jumps, Zuege said, with others coming up the ranks. Williams will also be running the high hurdles this season.
Bartels and Wallin, aided by Jack Bauerle and Eli Hinojosa, who also scored a lot of points last year, will provide a lot of team points in the weights.
Will Kuenne, a state cross country qualifier last fall, will lead the distance runners, according to Zuege.
The Longhorns will also have a strong core of middle distance runners with Bryson Fisher, Caleb Weiss and Francisco Barrientos, the coach added.
Kadin Vrbas, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, will be able to compete in the sprints but not in the jumps right away.
Zuege said they’ll be looking for development in the sprints and pole vault this season.
As the reigning SPVA conference champions, Zuege said the 2017 Longhorns are in a good position to win it again.
“If we stay healthy, we have a good shot to repeat,” he said.
However, St. Pat’s, Kimball and Bridgeport all have some good track athletes, too, he noted. This year’s SPVA meet will be held April 28 in Hershey.
Chase County will host its home meet Tuesday, April 18, two days after Easter.
The Longhorns will have to travel a bit further this year to districts, which are in Mitchell on May 11. Mitchell has a new track facility in place.
Here is the team breakdown by class:
Seniors—Dakota Wallin, Cody Williams, Bryson Fisher, Ike Maxwell, Tagan Mays, Hunter Bartels.
Juniors—Will Kuenne, Juan Venegas, Jayden German, Eli Hinojosa, Bryce Zuege, Francisco Barrientos, Caleb Weiss, Jack Bauerle, John Lewis, Joel DaMoude, Noah Griffin.
Sophomores—Evan Fisher, Landis Beverly, Angel Romero, Parker Dillan, Kadin Vrbas, Trevin Martin, Kalen Wallin, Scott Wheeler.
Freshmen—Stephen Johnson, Dylan Dreiling, Bennett Bauerle, Trevor Peterson, Kobe Clevenger, Mikael Kuhlmann, Bo O’Neil.
Thursday meet in Grant
Five teams are expected for the opener today (Thursday) hosted by Perkins County in Grant. Events will start at 4 p.m.
There will be no finals in any events. Places will be determined after three throws or jumps per athlete in the field events, and heat times in running events.
Individuals will be limited to four events, but Zuege said it’s likely most of his team will be in one or two. Field event participants who also do some running events may be in three, he said.
Other teams besides CCS and the hosts expected at the meet are Dundy Co. Stratton, South Platte and Wauneta-Palisade.
The next meet on the schedule is the Ogallala Invite on April 1.