BOYCEVILLE — What this year’s Boyceville track and field teams lack in numbers they will try to make up for in talent and experience.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams currently have just 19 members but boast returning talent highlighted by state qualifiers and place winners.
Two-time state qualifiers and seniors Mitchell Pustol and Logan McAbee-Thomas return to lead the boys’ team.
Both were members of last year’s 4 x 800 meter relay team that competed in the 2014 state tournament in La Crosse.
McAbee-Thomas also finished third in the Division 3 triple jump a year ago.
Co-head coaches Corey Day and Joan Klassen will rely on both Pustol and McAbee-Thomas to provide leadership along with fellow senior Caleb Arndt, who was a sectional qualifier in the discus year ago, and sophomore Brandon Malean, who was also a member of the state qualifying 4 x 800 meter relay squad.
Although graduation losses were light, the Boyceville boys’ did have to say goodbye to a pair of top-notch athletes and leaders after the 2014 season.
Tanner Johnson-Hetchler and Ian Kane helped anchor that state-qualifying 4 x 800 meter relay team. Johnson-Hetchler was also one of the conference’s top 3,200 meter runners while Kane was a consistent scorer in the 800 meters.
Day noted that both Johnson -Hetchler and Kane had times in their respective events that ranked them among the top five in program’s history.
But that is not what the coach will miss most about the pair.
“They were great leaders with tremendous work ethic,” said coach Day.
“They would run anything I asked without hesitation. They embraced every opportunity,” added Day.
The squad will need its six seniors, which also includes Kamden Casey, Dylan Lamm and Nolan Windsor, to fill the leadership void left by the graduation of Johnson-Hetchler and Kane.
The Boyceville boys have just two juniors on this year’s roster that also includes six sophomores and five freshmen.
The Bulldogs distance runners will be led by senior Mitchell Pustol and include junior Jack Kapsner, sophomores Kiel Anderson, Caleb Hagen, Sam Retz and freshmen Michael Chich, whom Klassen says is a very versatile athlete, and Rian Corr. Brandon Malean will be doing middle distance along with the high jump.
Boyceville’s stable of sprinters will include seniors Logan McAbee-Thomas, Kamden Casey, Nolan Windsor and Dylan Lamm, sophomores Tyler Krueger and Urs Kahmann and freshmen Brandon Kenefick, Trystin O’Connell and Michael Reidel.
Senior Caleb Arndt will anchor the boys’ throwing event, shot put and discus, and will be joined by junior Brandon Windsor and freshman Michael Reidel.
State place-winner Logan McAbee-Thomas will headline the long and triple jumps. Trystin O’Connel and Nolan Windsor will also compete in the long jump while Urs Kahmann will be a triple jumper.
Boys pole vaulters feature sophomore Tyler Krueger and freshmen Trystin O’Connell and Brandon Kenefick.
Senior Dylan Lamm and freshman Michael Chich will be running the hurdles.
To say that the Boyceville girls’ track and field team is young may be a bit of understatement.
Although Boyceville lost just one senior, Danielle Nelson, who just missed qualifying for the state meet in the pole vault, there are no seniors on this year’s roster and only five juniors.
So if the Lady Bulldogs are going to find team success in 2015, it will need hefty contributions from its underclassmen including six sophomores and eight freshman.
Sophomore Cassie Malean, twin sibling of Brandon Malean, will be looked to provide leadership and points.
With a state silver medal under her belt in the high jump, Cassie Malean will be on the area favorite in that event this spring. She will also be helping in the sprints.
Malean will be joined by fellow high jumpers junior Ireland McAbee-Thomas and freshman Mariah Drury. McAbee-Thomas and Drury will also compete in the sprints.
Sprinting events will also include freshmen Satina Chilson, Lauren Dominick, Brianna Foer, Emily Voelker, Shiann Wagner and Paulina Wenke; sophomores Emma Harnisch, Abby Kegan, Carlee Schultz, Erica Sempf and junior Brittany Tetzlaff.
Junior Carolyn Voelker and freshman Shian Wagner, who is currently injured, will be the distance runners along with a promising group of other freshman according to Coach Day.
Brooklyn Booth, a sophomore, and junior Samantha Merkel will run the middle distance events. Anna Hagen has been tabbed for the 800 meters. Booth will also compete in the pole vault.
Carlee Schultz and Erica Sempf will compete in the long jump and junior Brittany Tetzlaff will be in the triple jump.
Emma Harnisch and fellow sophomore Abby Kegan will be hurdling.
Shot put and discus duties will be the responsibilities of Samantha Merkel, Paulina Wenke and Haley Wold.
Coach Klassen noted that many of the sprinters are options for both the boys’ and girls’ relay teams.
“I feel the athletes are responding well to the coaches,” said Coach Corey Day. “Kids are willing to try events that us coaches feel they have potential (in).”
“But our weakness, as it is every year, is our numbers,” noted Day.
The goal for this year’s squads is simply according to Day, be competitive in the conference and qualify as many individuals for the state meet as possible.
The coaches look to St. Croix Central, Elk Mound, and Mondovi to vie for conference titles in both the boys and girls races.
Seniors: Caleb Arndt, Kamden Casey, Dylan Lamm, Logan McAbee-Thomas, Nolan Windsor and Mitchell Pustol.
Juniors: Jack Kapsner and Brandon Windsor.
Sophomores: Kiel Anderson, Caleb Hagen, Urs Kahmann, Tyler Krueger, Brandon Malean and Sam Retz.
Freshmen: Michael Chich, Rian Corr, Brandon Kenefick, Trystin O’Connell and Michael Reidel.
Juniors: Anna Hagen, Ireland McAbee-Thomas, Samantha Merkel, Brittany Tetzlaff and Carolyn Voelker.
Sophomores: Brooklyn Booth, Emma Harnisch, Abby Kegan, Cassie Malean, Carlee Schultz and Erica Sempf.
Freshmen: Satina Chilson, Lauren Dominick, Mariah Drury, Brianna Foer, Emily Voelker, Shiann Wagner, Paulina Wenke and Haley Wold.