Colfax tracksters will mix young with the new this year

COLFAX — 23 girls and 14 boys will make up the 2014 track and field team for the Colfax Vikings this season which will include four seniors, 10 juniors, 12 sophomores and 11 freshmen.

Girls coach Ryan Krall will need to replace some pretty talented athletes from last year including Brittany Rothbauer, Ryleigh Prochnow and Hannah Hover who all had plenty of state tournament experience behind them along with  Heather Tweed. But he has plenty of talent back that also has competed at the big show with senior Heidi Lieffort, junior Dannielle Dachel and sophomores Dempsey Fogarty and Courtney Dressel leading the way.

Lieffort competed at state in the pole vault and discus throw and will continue to compete in those events while Dachel will again run middle distance and do the triple jump. Fogarty’s race of choice is the 400m dash along with relays of which she has been a state participant, and the long jump, while Dressel excels in the long distance events. Krall expects senior Emily Halpin to have a break out season in the throws and looks for junior Katie Christoffel to continue improving in the 100m hurdle race which she just began running late last year. Freshmen Ally Heidorn and Abbigail Schotter are coming off pretty good cross country seasons and are expected to shore up the distance events. Also competing this season is senior Allie Yingst, juniors Alyssa Miller, Breanna Paffel and Alexis Rudi, sophomores Andrea Brantner, Lindsey Lloyd, Hannah Mikesell, Nicole Nierenhausen, Marianne Scharlau and Serena Secraw. Freshmen include Bryana Buchanan, Erin Nellessen, Andrea Scharlau, Megan Schleusner and Jezz Tweed.

“We had a late start last year due to the extended basketball season,” Krall said. “But this year we hope to have everyone in the best condition possible early on which should improve our results. Our strengths appear to be in the mid-distance events, the pole vault and discus events but we still have a lot of unanswered questions right now. We will need to improve in all of the jumps if we want to contend for a conference title. Depth could be an issue for us but hopefully our kids stay healthy and can handle the heavy workload. Mondovi and Elk Mound will be tough to beat because they have large numbers of kids out and St. Croix Central came on strong last year. Elmwood-Plum City always has great athletes and Glenwood City consistently improves every year. Our team goal always starts with a conference championship which will be tough with the competition we have, then we focus on getting some kids to qualify for state. We have kids with the ability to get on the medal podium but a lot of things need to go right for us,” he added.

The boys lose a talented group of runners who competed at the state level in the relay last season including Lachlan Hinwood, Michael Larson, Garrett Miller and Matthew Almquist. Larson also ended his season at the big show as a high jump competitor while Miller came very close to breaking the school record in the 400m run several times, including at state.  Hurdler Trevor Secraw also graduated with the group.

Just one senior returns, sprinter Noah Pretasky who already had a great opening meet at UW-Stout last week. Junior Ben Kragness will shore up the throwing events and Tucker Hovde and Hunter Lieffort run the distance events while Lieffort is also a pole vaulter. Jeremiah Wait will split time between the baseball field and the track and should help in the sprints and filling out the team are juniors Andrew Adix, Brad Foyt and Tucker Teige, sophomores Grady Gibson and Isaac Lee, along with freshmen Aliymu Davis, Jacob Larson, Kamdon Quast and Jelani Smit.

Outdoor season is scheduled to begin April 10 at St. Croix Central.