Boys will rely heavily on veterans
Early strength likely to come in field events.
No one is counting out underclassmen on the Gothenburg boys track and field team this spring.Surely there will be a few who contribute to team scoring early in their careers.
But with 10 juniors and seniors who are all returning letter winners, longtime Swede coach Steve Reeves is looking to his veterans for leadership.
“We lost a great number of kids who were scorers in multiple events,” Reeves said of the six graduates from last spring’s team. “They will be tough to replace but every year we have kids step up. Surely that will happen again this year.”
It may take a meet or two, especially since the Swedes are a little behind due to an extended basketball season combined with late-season snow and wind.
“The bad news is the weather has been pretty cruddy to get much done,” Reeves said. “The good news is, everybody’s in the same boat. We are just now starting to get some continuity in what we do.”
Gothenburg’s only returning state qualifier is senior Preston Franzen, who competed in the 300 hurdles last May. A couple of others were just outside qualifying for state.
In addition to the experience returning in the hurdle events, Reeves said the Swedes’ greatest strength should be seen early in field events.
“We’re just going to have to find a way to score on the track,” he said.
Southwest Conference competition will see Cozad and Ogallala as front-runners, Reeves said, as the Haymakers and Indians will be solid in a lot of areas.
Gothenburg switches to the B-5 district this year from the previous B-6 that includes western teams.
Reeves said the change pits the Swedes against larger schools with good track programs such as Lexington, Aurora, Holdrege and Grand Island Northwest.
“Some years it’s a good thing for us to go east and some years it really isn’t,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The Gothenburg boys open the season on Thursday at the Class B University of Nebraska at Kearney Indoor Invite and continue indoors next week, also in Kearney, before taking the competition outdoors for the first time at Ogallala on March 28.
Members of the 2013 Swede boys track team are (*denotes letter winner):
SENIORS—Eric Cole*, Aaron Collins*, Preston Franzen*, Logan Koehler*, Logan Sheets*, Alex Spencer*.
JUNIORS—Skyler Kott-witz*, Ross Ostendorf*, Blake Ristine*, Roy Slack*.
SOPHOMORES—Keyan Anderson, Tanner Borchardt*, Sean Canas, Jacob Clark*, Seth Eggleston*, Dylan Folkers, Jacob Franzen*, Sam LaFuze, Jordan Lauer, Justin Sabin, Connor Schwanz*, Dalton Sylvan, Brennan Spencer, Levi Tripp, Zach Wolf.
FRESHMEN—Ethan Bihlmaier, Ziek Brian, Braeden Brundage, Matt Bruntz, Dylan France, Marcus Fritton, Quinn Haynes, Alex Jorgenson, Bryce Kowalewski, Drake Langley, Connor McCoy, Ryan Rehbach, Caleb Rice, Roman Schmidt, Chad Schmiett, Tyson Schwanz.