After a stellar 2013 on (and off) the track, the 2014 Blue Earth Area boys track and field team will look to carry over the positive momentum from last year.
"We had some success last year," coach Tom Plocker says. "We should continue being competitive, especially on all of the sprints and relays."
The Buccaneers will need to replace Nick Beattie, Taylor Olson and Steven Plocker due to graduation.
Boy tracksters, left to right, top: Juan Ramirez, Jacob Vaske, John Lindsey, Kyle Mercer, Adam Buseman, Reed Krieger, Camden Bowers, Ike Zebedee, Coty McMillan, Nick Shure, Jacob Johnson and Alex Benson. Kneeling: Tucker Bottin, Tyler Hannaman, Brandon Olson, Chris Sanders and Ben Frye. Front: Isaac Miranda, Bailey Olson, Gus Phillips and Zach Vaske.
Beattie won three medals at the State Meet last year: first place with the 4 x 200 meter relay, and seventh with both the 100 and 200-meter dashes, with times of 11.35 and 22.87 respectively.
At State, Beattie, Olson, Bailey Olson and Alberto Ocampo set school marks both days in the 4 x 200 on their way to the State Championship.
Plocker finished second in Sections for shot put and placed 10th at State.
"Replacing all three of those guys will be tough," Tom Plocker explains. "But, we have a pretty solid nucleus and I am excited to get things started."
As a team last year, the boys competed very well.
They placed third at the South Central Conference Championship, won one meet and were runners-up at three others, including Sub-Section.
The boys best achievement, as a team, was when they won the Section True Team Title and placed sixth at the State True Team.
The last time the BEA boys came in first at the Section True Team Championship was in 2010, finishing third at State.
"I am really proud of the guys for what they accomplished last year in the Section True Team Championship," Plocker says. "It proves we have a balanced squad."
All-Conference athletes included firsts by Beattie in the 100 and 200 and Steven Plocker in the shot put.
Second-places were earned by Brad More in the shot, Brandon Olson in the pole vault, the 4 x 200 (Olson, Ocampo, Nick Shure and Bailey Olson), and the 4 x 100 (Olson, Justin Ritter, Shure and Beattie).
Bronze medalists included Taylor Olson in the long jump and Brandon Olson in the high hurdles.
Thirteen athletes in 11 events moved on to Sections last year.
More, Shure and Chris Sanders were selected most improved Buccaneers and Ocampo and Derek Johnson were named the outstanding rookies for the Bucs, according to Plocker.
Also as a team, they earned the gold level academic honors for having an average GPA of 3.84.
This year the Bucs will be led by senior captains Isaac Miranda, Kyle Mercer, Danny Krieger and Dakota Jahnke.
"We have some experienced captains this year and I am confident in them because they are all great leaders," Plocker says. The four other seniors are: Tristan Drake, Gus Phillips, Juan Ramirez and Jorge Tellez.
The junior class includes: Alex Benson, Derek Johnson, Jacob Johnson, Coty McMillan, Nick Shure and Ike Zebedee.
Sophomores on the team this year include: Camden Bowers, Adam Buseman, Tyler Hannaman, John Lindsey, Bailey Olson, Brandon Olson, Jordan Stelter and Zach Vaske.
Freshmen on the team include: Seth Becker, Jordan Frandle, Reed Krieger, Kyle Perry, Chris Sanders and Dakota Schug.
Eighth-graders include: Blake Barnett, Tucker Bottin, Johnny Hynes, Clayton Johnson, Daniel Juarez, Grant Madetzke, Rylee McGuire and Jacob Vaske.
Seventh-graders Carson Anderson and Gunnar Fering also are out for the team.
Practice began for the tracksters on March 10.
They have already participated in an indoor scrimmage at Minnesota State University, Mankato on March 15, an SCC indoor meet on March 21 and an indoor quadrangular last Thursday as well.
"We just need some guys to step up and take on our distance and throwing events," Plocker says. "Early on, we will experiment with some new events with guys."
Also, Plocker says the track team will honor Ethan Rorman somehow this season.