ELK MOUND — After a fourth place finish in the conference for the girls a year ago and a fifth place for the boys, Elk Mound head coach Jeff Mack hopes the large number on the boys’ squad and a young but very athletic group for the girls will allow them to finish higher in the standings this year.
Mack will have to replace several athletes who scored a lot of points last year including for the girls, Alyssa Buros, a state entry in the shot put as a sophomore who was also a discus thrower, Jamie Solem, a middle distance runner, jumper and hurdler, long distance runner Samantha Jain, and Kathleen Simmons, another shot and discus thrower. Gone from the boys through graduation are sprinters Tyler Deutschlander and Adam Gottschalk, long distance runners Ben Holzwarth and Sam Hastreiter, sprinter and long jumper Travis Nelson, thrower Gabe Anderson, high jumper Zac Doll, middle distance runner Hunter Alexander and 4 X 800 relay racer Josh Hall.
Returning for the boys are junior Jonah Bauer, who is the reigning state champion in the 100 m dash who also took third in the 200 m race. He is the first state champion for the Mounders since they were bumped up to Division 2 several years ago. Also back are junior Aaron Maves and sophomore Noah Zurbuchen, both members of the conference winning 4 X 200 relay team, along with senior distance runner Lucas Winter, juniors Chase Morris, a middle distance runner, and hurdler Teegan Peterson, along with sophomores George Friberg, a pole vaulter and middle distance runner, and Chandler Schreiber another pole vaulter. Senior David Ward should help the team in the sprints this season.
“I see us moving up a bit in the conference this season but we are a year away from really competing for a conference title,” Mack said. “We know Jonah Bauer is very capable of returning to the state meet in the 100 and the 200 but the rest are unknowns right now. It will be hard to beat St. Croix Central this year and I see them taking the conference title for the second year in a row followed by Glenwood City and Mondovi. We will be in the middle somewhere.”
Other competitors for the boys include: seniors Jake Ausman, Henry Henning, Ryan Krall, Caleb Kruger, Josh Lien, Tyler Svihovec, Adam Wolgemuth, John Yang; juniors Casey Capozzi, Elliot Johnson, Lucas Klingbile, Hayden Kohls, Nathan Kruger, Ben Mack, Noah Stamm, Erik Strand, Jordan VanSchoonhoven; sophomores Hunter Johnson, Matt McLaughlin, Andrew Benson; and freshmen Tyler Brantner, Hunter Burlingame, Jaylen Emberson, Aric Jensen, Jake Johnson, Bryce Kasper, Nate Lind, Conner Mavis, Ryan Mohr, William Muszinski, William Stone, Jared Strand, Ben Lambele, Christopher Lee.
Back for the girls are seniors Elly Friberg, a state competitor in the high jump who also long jumps and runs the 400 and 800 races, Moriah Mauer, a sprinter, long jumper and triple jumper and Rachel Caron who runs middle distance races. Several sophomores with experience are also back including Kaitlyn Baier who pole vaults and runs the 400 and 800, thrower Mikayla Solberg, distance runner Elizabeth Fasbender, Kami King in the 400 and 800 races and hurdler Riley Radtke. Several members of the junior class with experience chose not to compete this season for various reasons. Freshmen looking to contribute are Allie Weber, Maddie Jensen and Hannah Cedarblade.
“We were disappointed with our fourth place finish last year,” Mack said. “We really thought we could have done much better. We have a very young group this year but they will do anything we ask of them and really try to get better. Our strength will come from our sophomores and freshmen and we will need to get these athletes figured out and get them in the correct events. We want to be able to build on what we did last year. With more depth this year we hope to be more competitive and place in the upper half of the conference meet. I believe Mondovi, Elmwood-Plum City and St. Croix Central will be the teams to beat this year,” he added.
Other athletes hoping to help the team are: juniors Taylor Deling, Jasmine Johnson, Paxtyn Pavelski, McKenna McVey; sophomores Amber Edington, Jenna Heit, Maria Heltne, Kassandra Jain, Megan Krall, Emily Larrabee, Mikayla Solberg, Jenna Storing, Sarah Sweeney; and freshmen Hannah Carlson, O’Ryhann Hay, Alex Jensen, Mattea Linberg, Callie Nyren, Anna Wolgemuth, Kourtney Zurbuchen.
Mack begins his 30th year leading the Mounders and will be assisted by Jonathon Linzmeier, Jeremiah Fredrickson and Jonathon Langreck.