By Brenda Erdahl Sports Editor
It’s been a slow start to the season, but the Maple Lake boys and girls track teams are set and ready to go.
The boys team returns nine seniors, six juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen to their roster. Though numbers are down from years past, “as a whole, we have quite a bit of experience,” Head Coach Ben Youngs said.
The Irish’s biggest strength will be the fact that they have at least one solid athlete returning for each event.
Junior Mike Miller is back after a strong showing last year in the distance events; junior Daryn Strub saw success last season in the hurdles; senior Henry Stecker returns with experience in the sprints; senior Jason Webb is strong in the jump events; senior Kyle Scherber has a good arm for the throwing competitions; and junior Sean Cranston looks to be a competitive athlete in the pole vault again.
The question now is who will step up to fill the remaining openings in those events.
“We have some great prospects, and their performances will determine how we do,” Youngs said.
Among the up-and-comers is Ben Smail who coaches look to be a solid helper in distance; Jake Fynboh and Quinn Youngs who will run mid-distance events, and Anthony DeMars in the sprints.
“Our freshmen may help us this year too, with Jack Klug in hurdles, Adam Neumann in mid-distance, and Charlie Berndt and Brayden Belenger in sprints and jumps,” Youngs said.
Others who could make an impact on the Irish lineup are Joe Elsenpeter and Nick Borgert in pole vault, Andy Mavencamp, Joe Fynboh, and Rayne Jacobson in mid-distance, Wyatt Jacobs and Jordan Gries in throws and Justin Fobbe in sprints.
Coaches aren’t ruling out a handful of talented seventh and eighth graders who could take on larger roles as the year progresses either.
As a team, the Irish will work to fill those “second” spots and make sure their relays are solid, all in an attempt to return to the True Team State Meet.
Right now, Maple Lake is favored among the True Team high schools along with Howard Lake- Waverly-Winsted, Spectrum, Concordia, Trinity and Nova Classical.
“It will be very interesting,” Youngs said.
In the Central Minnesota Conference, the favorites are looking to be Holdingford, Eden Valley-Watkins, Maple Lake and Pierz.
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