BEA track is ready to run
It is that time, once again, to hit the ground running, and for the Blue Earth Area track and field team, that is exactly what they are doing.
So far, the BEA boys and girls tracksters have had a few practices and scrimmages before the season has officially begun, but it seems the teams have some real potential as they seek to defend their True Team Section and State team titles from last year.
Head coach Tom Plocker says with such an experienced squad returning, he feels both the boys and girls teams have the potential to go far. Last year, the BEA girls won the State True Team Championship, and their 10th consecutive Section True Team title.
Last year, Karli Olsen established a new school record during her Section 400 meter dash with a time of 58.12, and the 4 x 200 meter relay team of Olsen, Miranda Johnson, Shayna Stevermer and Anne Franta also beat a school record during the State competition with a time of 1:45:58. And they are ready to do it all again this year.
The girls have a core group of seniors and juniors who have done well in the past, and will attempt similar feats of record-breaking, State-qualifying competing.
This year, there is no senior girls captain. Why? Because all have all decided to be co-senior-captains of their team.
“Nyla Anderson (horizontal jumps), Paige Darrington (sprints, relays, high jump), Anne Franta (sprints, relays, middle distance, and horizontal jumps), Miranda Johnson (sprints, relays, and horizontal jumps), Karli Olsen (sprints, relays, middle distance, and horizontal jumps), and Shayna Stevermer (sprints, hurdles, and relays) each have many years of True Team and State Meet experience,” says Plocker. “And they will bring that to the team this year as well.”
Juniors Skylee Bell (sprints, relays, long jump), Samantha Ripley (mid distances, high jump, throws), Brittany Johnson (throws), and Kenya Whitlow?(sprints and jumps) will also be big contributors during the season. Newcomer Emma Lofblad, a foreign exchange student from Sweden, will also be seeking to help the squad in the throws.
Both the sophomore and freshman class feature a large and talented contingent as well as a few middle school veterans.
For the boys, there are several strong performers for the 2016 season, and they are another strong group to bring big things to BEA this track and field season.
The boys team will be led by senior veterans Camden Bowers (sprints, relays, triple jump), Bailey Olson (sprints, relays, throws), Brandon Olson (hurdles, relays, pole vault), and Zach Vaske (distances).
“Bowers and Bailey Olson were State medalists in the 4 x 200 relay in 2015, while Brandon Olson and Vaske are past All-Conference performers. Rookie Carl Ekstedt is also looking to contribute,” said Plocker.
Juniors Seth Becker (hurdles and relays), Jordan Frandle (sprints, relays, throws), and Reed Krieger (throws) form the junior core of athletes. Newcomers Mason Mauris and Travis Ulrich will also be looking to find their niche on the track.
Several sophomores, freshmen and eighth graders made big impacts for BEA?in 2015 and some are returning to do it again.
Plocker also mentions that there are a quality bunch of seventh grade boys who will be starting their careers.
Both the boys and girls teams also have a solid slew of sophomores, freshmen, seventh and eighth grade competitors to back up their strong senior and junior groups.
Plocker also has a strong line up of assistant coaches including Brian Kokos (throws), Steven Wood (sprints and relays), Jack Anderson (hurdles and high jump), Adam Murphy (pole vault), and newcomer Lindsay Johnson (long and triple jump) to help with the season. Plocker says they are all individually experienced and work well as a team for the BEA tracksters.
With strong leadership from both coaches and athletes alike, it seems the BEA?track and field teams are ready to roll. Or run.
Their season officially starts with the Wolverine Invite at Mankato State University on April 2 at 6 p.m. while their first home meet is scheduled for April 15 at 4 p.m. for the Buc Invitational.