GLENWOOD CITY — It can be a challenge putting together a cohesive track and field team especially with limited numbers.
That is exactly what new Glenwood City track and field coaches David Steffen and Rick Tiberg will be charged with doing this season after taking the reigns from longtime coach Matt Lamb, who stepped down after last season. Steffen had been a volunteer coach for the previous six years.
While the Hilltoppers’ cupboard is not bare, it will need some restocking and rearranging.
While the girls’ team returns several talented athletes with state experience including an opportunity to compete in last fall’s state cross country championships, the boys’ lost several key contributors to graduation last year.
The graduation of three-time state qualifier and two-time state place winner Isaac Tuttle left a large void in the Toppers’ line-up as did the loss of Tuttle’s classmates and track mates Nick Mrdutt, Charlie Shackett and Jeff Kopacz.
The four together finished second in the WIAA Division 3, 4 x 200 m relay in La Crosse last June and added a fourth place showing in the 4 x 100 m relay.
Individually, Tuttle finished 5th and 6th respectively in the last two Division 3 100 meter state races. And Shackett competed in the state 200 meters a year ago.
In addition, throwing specialist Donovan Fornal also graduated.
The Topper boys’ team has just a pair of seniors this year – Todd Petersen and Marcus Kadinger – but they should provide leadership and much needed points for the 15-member squad.
Todd Petersen will be the Toppers go-to-man in the long and triple jumps and the hurdling events and relays.
Kadinger, meanwhile, will compete in the high jump and will be a staple on all four of the boys’ relay teams throughout the season.
But the pair will need the support and effort of the entire squad in order to compete from meet to meet.
About seven boys will run distance events. Riley Schutz, Wesley Franklin, Andrew Bauman and Corey Klatt will focus on the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs while Owen Wagner, Matt Bauman and Ludwig Canonge will compete in the 800 and 1,600 meters, with Jack Kremer likely taking part in the 400 and 800 meters.
Junior Ethan Kahler and freshman Darian Multhauf are penciled in for the sprints – 100, 200 and 400 meters.
Besides Petersen and Kadinger in the jumping events, Ethan Kahler will be doing the long jump while freshman Jacob Kopacz may give a high jump a shot.
Nick Schone, who is splitting his time between the track and baseball diamond, will again be pole vaulting.
Unfortunately, coaches Steffen and Tiberg do not yet have any boys competing in the shot put or discus.
Jacob Kopacz along with Kadinger and Petersen have been tabbed for several of the relays.
The 4 x 800 meters may include Jack Kremer, Riley Schutz, Matt Bauman, Owen Wagner, Ludwig Canonge as well as Kadinger. Darian Multhauf may joined the mix of Kadinger, Schutz, Wagner and Kremer for the 4 x 400. The 4 x 200 could include Ethan Kahler along with Kopacz, Multhauf, Kremer and Kadinger while the 4 x 100 could see Kahler, Kopacz and Multhauf carrying the baton.
The Glenwood City girls, who lost Jenny Lindquist and Kayla Bloss, return several talented runners and throwers with big competition experience.
Rachel Klatt qualified for state in the shot put last year as did the girls’ 4 x 100 and 4 x 800 meters squads that return Jennifer Kopacz, Gabby Peterson, Morgan Kadinger and Kaylie Scalze.
Conspicuously absent from that list is sophomore Taylor Drinkman, who helped lead the girls’ cross country to state this past fall and finished ninth in the 3,200 meters at the state meet last year. Drinkman suffered a knee injury during the basketball season and just recently had surgery to repair it and will be out of action for the entire season.
Still the Lady Toppers have several runners in both the sprints and distances.
Gabby Peterson, one of the fastest girls on the team, leads several sprints including Mariah Voeltz, Macie Rasmussen, Jennifer Kopacz, Maddie Wagner, Denisa DeSmith and Savannah Kessler.
Makayla O’Brien and Morgan Kadinger will take to the track for races of 800 meters or shorter, Elizabeth Wink will bridge the middle distances of 800 and 1,600 meters and Kaitlin Konder will run the longer distances of 1,600 and 3,200 meters with an occasional race at 800 meters.
Morgan Kadinger and Makayla O’Brien will pair up in the high jump along with Megan Speiser.
Long jump competitors will be Ellen Lindquist and Megan Speiser with Kaitlin Konder taking flight in the pole vault.
Rachel Klatt is the team’s throwing specialist with several top finishes to her credit in both the shot put and discus. Senior Hannah Steinberger will also be battling in those events.
Maya Petersen, when healthy, will be running the hurdles some sprints and competing in relays.
Jennifer Kopacz and Morgan Kadinger will be a familiar duo in all four of the girls relay teams. Konder, O’Brien and Wink will be looked at for the 4 x 800 m relay. Petersen and Rasmussen will join O’Brien, Kadinger and Kopacz in the 4 x 400 with Gabby Peterson and Megan Speiser added to the mix for the 4 x 200. The 4 x 100 may include Kadinger, Kopacz, Peterson, Petersen, and Mariah Voeltz.
Coach Steffen said that the teams’ ultimate goals are to get as many athletes and relays to state as possible.
Both coaches feel that St. Croix Central (defending champ) and Elk Mound should compete for the Dunn-St. Croix championship while it will be a battle between Mondovi and Colfax for the girls’ crown.
Seniors: Marcus Kadinger and Todd Petersen.
Juniors: Andrew Bauman, Wesley Franklin, Jack Kremer, and Nick Schone.
Sophomores: Ludwig Canonge and Corey Klatt.
Freshmen: Matt Bauman, Ethan Kahler, Jacob Kopacz, Darian Multhauf, Jacob Nelson, Riley Schutz and Owen Wagner.
Seniors: Kaitlin Konder, Jennifer Kopacz and Hannah Steinberger.
Juniors: Morgan Kadinger, Rachel Klatt, Savannah Kessler, Ellen Lindquist, Maya Petersen, Gabby Peterson, Macie Rasmussen and Madeline Wagner.
Sophomore: Denisa DeSmith.
Freshmen: Makayla O’Brien, Megan Speiser, Mariah Voeltz and Elizabeth Wink.