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BEA Track teams are ready for 2019

By Staff | Mar 31, 2019

The Blue Earth Area boys track team are a large, but young group. They are, from left to right, front row: PJ Christensen, Grant Strukel, Adam Griffin, Tate Thielfoldt, Carson Anderson, Owen Naumann, Zac Murphy, Matt Krause, Ben Babcock, Thomas Lindsey, Gunnar Fering, Blake Ripley, and Elijah Sanchez. In row two are Nick Frank, Eleazar Cuevas, Waylen Douglas, Luke Norman, Bryce Wirth, Eli Slater, Nate Phippen, Riley Anderson, Shane Levenhagen, Aaron Lorenz, Cameron Germain, Brandy Bromeland, and Cameron Hassing. Third row consists of Caiden Shure, Austin Stauffer, Carson Strukel, Alex Dikken, Kyren Sunken, Jack Norman, Austin Skaden, Mateaus Sanchez, Damion Mahsteadt, Blair Lunz, Zaire Morrow, Carson Meyers, Brady Lorenz, and Jordan Wach. Not pictured are: Eric Becker, Xavier Morrow, Brady Olsen, Jayden Smith, Luke Miller, Arty Mwangi, Gabe Smith, Dominic Morrow, Eli Paz, Kaden Gaydon, and Noah Spear.

Typical March: unpredictable weather, hectic extracurricular schedules, and slow transitions from winter sports. However, this March is atypical for the Blue Earth Area boys and girls track teams. Why? The students unbridled enthusiasm to hit the track running has got their coaching team amped up for the ongoing track season, which started on Friday, March 22, at Minnesota State University-Mankato during the St. Peter Indoor Meet.

“Both the boys and girls squads will be striving to peak at the Section True Team in May,” says head coach Tom Plocker. “The girls qualified for their 13th consecutive State True Team meet last year as a wild card, and the boys narrowly missed a bid. Both teams return a solid group of veterans as well as a promising number of youngsters.”

At the end of their 2018 season, the girls track team placed second at the Section True Team, and were second in the virtual wild-card meet. At the State True Team, the Bucs placed 11th, says Plocker, and at the Big South Conference Championship, they finished fifth. They won one other meet during the 2018 season.

2018’s All-Conference athletes included first places by now BEA graduate Nicole Lium in pole vault and high jump, silver medals by BEA graduate Melissa Hagedorn in the 100 and 300 hurdles, graduate Lindsey Norman’s shot put, Amanda Jacobson’s 400, and the 4×100 meter relay team consisting of Ta Armstrong, graduates Maddi Oelke, Alissa Norman, and Lindsey Norman.

This year, the team will be led by a strong core of seniors including Amanda Jacobson, who excels in sprints and relays, Emma Germain whose specialty is in long distance running, Heaven Ihle and her sprints, Hayley Jahnke’s strong arm at the throws, as well as Hannah Johnson (sprints, distance, jumps, and throws), Alyssa Ripley (throws), and Callie Stevermer (distances).

If the smiles do not show how eager the BEA girls track team is, maybe their season will. Pictured below are, left to right, in the front row: Emma Germain, Heaven Ihle, Amanda Jacobson, Hayley Jahnke, Hannah Johnson, Sidney Blair and Caitlin Rorman. Second row: Tori Oswald, Diana Lopez, Hailey Becker, Chloe Groe, Kenzi Eckles, Kate Armon, Téa Armstrong, Heidi Herrmann, Maddie Dulac, Eloise Blair, Sophie Keister, and Lauren Bleess. In the third row are Emily Simpson, Maddie Hakon, Amelia Lewis, Lacey Nietfeld, Mirna Castro, Jazmyn Lunz, Marisol Cuevas, Leah Becker, Haley Kalis, Addison Armstrong, Elizabeth Jacobson, Aubrey Hueper, Lauren Survis, Calli Ferguson, and Sydney Eastvold. Not pictured are: Callie Stevermer, Izzy Walker, Kaitlin Johnson, Hannah Morales, Adrianna Reddick, and Alexis Muehring.

“These seniors are striving to make their last season memorable,” says Plocker. “The squad will be buoyed by the return of Sidney Blair, who was sidelined last season by knee surgery, and the addition of hoop athlete extraordinaire, Caitlin Rorman.”

Juniors Heidi Herrmann who has shown strength in vault, hurdles, and jumps, and Kaitlin Johnson, known for her sprints, distances, and relays, are each ready to pull their weight as upperclassmen.

Ta Armstrong is the lone sophomore on the team for 2019.

“Lauren Bleess, Mirna Castro, Marisol Cuevas, Sydney Eastvold, Calli Ferguson, Aubrey Hueper, Elizabeth Jacobson, Jazmyn Lunz, Lacey Nietfeld and Marianna Rincon will add depth and skill to the girls team this year,” says Plocker.

In 2018, the boys track team had a strong season. They won three meets and placed third at Section True Team and also third at the Big South Conference Meet.

All-Conference athletes for the 2018 boys included BSC champions Rylee McGuire, now a graduate of BEA, in pole vault, and the 4×800 squad comprised of graduate Alex Reese, Grant Strukel, and Brady Olsen, and graduate Clayton Johnson as well as sixth place finishes fro Reese in the 300 hurdles, Strukel in the 3200, Cameron Anderson in the long jump, the 4×400 meter team of Griffin, Reese, Olsen and Johnson, as well as the 4×800 meter relay team comprised of Reese, Olsen, graduate Julius Holzer, and Strukel.

This season’s stellar senior class will pace the boys team, according to Plocker. Carson Anderson and Ben Babcock, who are known for their sprints, jumps and relays, along with teammate Gunnar Fering, known also for his relays and jumps as well as hurdles, will team up with fellow seniors Erick Becker (distance), Matthew Krause?(vault), and newcomer Tate Thielfoldt?(distance) to create a hard-hitting core for the boys track team.

The juniors boast PJ Christensen (throws), Adam Griffin (sprints, mid-distances, throws), Thomas Lindsey (vault), Xavier Morrow (mid-distances, jumps), Owen Naumann (hurdles), Brady Olsen (jumps, sprints, mid-distance), Nate Phippen (distances) and Grant Strukel (distances). Rookie juniors Zach Murphy (sprints and throws) and Jayden Smith (sprints) will also help the team in 2019.

The “commendable crop” of sophomores include Riley Anderson (sprints, relays), Brady Bromeland (sprints), Nick Frank (sprints, throws), Cameron Germain (distances), rookie Luke Miller (throws), and Austin Thielfoldt (vault, relays). Ninth graders Waylen Douglas (sprints, relays) and Luke Norman (throws) were varsity contributors in 2018.

Classmates Eleazar Cuevas, Aaron Lorenz, Arty Mwangi, Blake Ripley, Elijah Sanchez, Gabe Smith, and Jordan Wach will also be looking to make an impact this year.

“A large and talented group of junior high gents will also be fun to watch develop this season,” adds Plocker.