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By Amber Hayden
COLFAX — Colfax track and field welcomes nine freshmen to the teams this season that have yet to gain training or racing experience at the high school level, but will need to learn quickly in order to have some success in the 2019 season.
Head coach Ryan Krall, in his eleventh year, has coached the girls’ team to a conference championship, two regional championships and one sectional championship along with 50 individual state qualifiers and 29 state relay qualifiers.
“Last year our girls team was painful close to capturing one of our biggest season goals as we finished second at the Dunn-St. Croix conference meet by two points behind a really good Mondovi team,” Krall stated.
More than anything, the Viking boys’ and girls’ teams both lost great leadership from last season as Mackenzie Jensen and Adam Pretasky graduated last May.
“They were much more than just past state qualifiers for us – they provided leadership in all parts of our program,” explained coach Krall. “They were both fantastic kids that will be nearly impossible to replace – it will most certainly be a collaborative effort that will help replace what those two provided for us.”
It is hard for Krall and the coaching staff to look past last year’s state qualifiers, Morgan Jensen in discus and Kameri Meredith in the 100 meter high hurdles, when considering the largest assets for the Colfax ladies.
Both Jensen and Meredith are tremendous competitors, according to Krall, they lead by example and constantly do what is right on and off the track.
Distance runner Erica Kallstrom and sprint runners Jayna Bowe, Samantha Pretasky and Morgan Schleusner have been big point scorers for the Lady Vikings and it will be needed again this season in order for Colfax to reach their ultimate goal.
Seniors Jeremy Artist and Luke Heidorn will do most of the heavy lifting on the track for the boys’ team, but with the added incoming depth, Artist and Heidorn won’t be alone, Krall stated.
“Ed Hydukovich had a really good sophomore season and has some pretty lofty goals heading into 2019,” explained Krall. “We will need him even more in the field events this year than we have in the past.”
Colfax has a large number of kids that specialize in the short sprints and jumps, as they are often the most versatile kids to have, but a weakness still remains in the number of new athletes that Colfax is training this season.
The main goal for the Vikings’ squads will be to compete for, and hopefully win, a conference championship this season and more, which according to Krall may be a bit easier now that the Vikings have been moved back into Division 3 after a one-year stint in Division 2.
“A lot of our kids will consider this season a failure if they do not compete for the final time in LaCrosse,” said coach Krall. “In order for this to happen, we will all need to commit to getting better every single day and making great choices outside of practice to ensure that we can reach those lofty goals by season’s end.”
The Lady Buffaloes will once again be the team to beat as they will undoubtedly be ready to defend their conference championship. As for the boys, it will be tough to compete with the number of athletes Elk Mound, the three-time defending Dunn-St. Croix champion, and Durand produce for the events.
“We will have our work cut out for us on both sides if we are hoping to compete for championships this season,” Krall stated.
The Vikings competed in the Northern Badger Invitational this last Saturday, March 23, at UW-Stout and will have a few days of practice and downtime before returning to the track on Thursday, April 4, at the St. Croix Central Invite at 4:00 p.m.
Seniors: Jeremy Artist, Vasco Ferreira, Luke Heidorn, Emma Hurlburt, Erica Kallstrom, Rachel Knutson, Nevaeh Pfeiffer, Hailey Prince, Kyah Quast and Trevor Rothbauer.
Juniors: Noah Albricht, Juelia Berger, Jayna Bowe, Eddie Doerr, Teagan Field, Pierce Harvey, Trey Hovde, Ed Hydukovich, Morgan Jensen, Remington Larson, Nate Lee, Kameri Meredith, Colby Neuaguer, Samantha Pretasky, Kali Risler, Morgan Schleusner, Dennis Sonnentag and Daniel Zons.
Sophomores: Noah Heidorn, Mitchell Reisdorf and Austin Schindler.
Freshmen: Ryan Albricht, Madison Barstad, Jasmine Best, Thomas Drees, Nathan Hydukovich, Max Knudson, Abbigail Robinson, Madison Shipley and Alex Swanson.