Some experience mixed with a lot of potential could be the ingredients needed for a successful season.
Blue Earth Area boys track and field head coach Tom Plocker thinks so.
"We should be fairly strong in the field events and competitive in the sprints and relays," says the 24-year veteran coach.
This year’s Blue Earth Area boys track and field team will open its season when they travel to St. James on Thursday. The team already has participated in two indoor meets at Minnesota State University in Mankato. Their first home meet is not until Saturday, April 14, when they host six other teams.
The Bucs will have to rely on underclassmen if they're going to improve on last year's fourth place finish in the South Central Conference Meet and third place in the Section True Team Meet.
"We definitely have some athletes with great potential," Plocker says.
Of the 20 returning letterman, five are seniors.
Jake Zebedee and Jake Wagner have each earned four varsity letters.
Zebedee is coming off a season in which he set a school record in the pole vault by soaring over 14 feet, 1 inch.
He earned All-Conference honors with a first-place performance in the pole vault and a member of the second-place 4 x 400 relay.
At the State Meet, Zebedee took fourth place in the pole vault competition with a height of 14 feet.
Wagner also made All-Conference as past of the 4 x 400 squad.
Seniors Jacob Olson and Sam Lee are three-year letterwinners, while Josh Johnson has earned two.
Johnson took second place in the shot put and discus to make All-Conference, while Olson also had All-Conference performances as a member of the second-place 4 x 400 squad and in the 200-meter dash with a third-place finish.
The junior class is led by three-time letterwinners Isaac Darrington and Nick Beattie.
Darrington took All-Conference honors with a silver-medal leap in the high jump.
At Sections, he took third-place and qualified for the State Meet, where he cleared 6 feet to place 15th.
Steven Plocker and Taylor Olson each have two letters, while Brad More has earned one.
Four sophomores are two-time letterwinners - Korey Frandle, Isaac Miranda, Kysten Zierke and Justin Ritter.
Zierke is the fourth member of the 4 x 400 relay squad looking to earn All-Conference again.
Trying to earn a second letter will be Dakota Jahnke and Kyle Mercer.
Freshman Nick Shure will be trying for a second varsity letter.
Newcomer Mike Ankeny, who was on the cross country team, is expected to compete in the distance races and relays.
Rounding out the varsity letterman are eighth-graders Bailey Olson and Brandon Olson, each with one.
In the South Central Conference, Plocker says there doesn't appear to be a clear favorite.
"The conference should be fairly close, with us being right in there," he says.
While it's too early to tell, Plocker thinks United South Central and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet will be among the contenders in the Section True Team Meet.