Coach: T.J. Umemoto, 3rd season
Last year at state: 4th place AA (56 points)
Returning state placers (1): Charlie Barron, So., pole vault-4th.
Others to watch: Scottie Crigler, Sr., sprints; Jorey Egeland, Sr., middle distance; Damian White, Sr., jumps; Brennan Nielson, Sr., javelin; Ed Baker, So., jumps; Sam Sparks, So., sprints.
Season outlook: The Broncs are without sprinter Nolan Saraceni and sprinter/distance man Alex Klatt, who graduated. Both played big roles in Senior placing fourth at state last season. But the team believes it still has enough experience to compete at a high level. Crigler and Sparks return to the Broncs’ defending state champion 400-meter relay team.
Coach Umemoto says: “We’re obviously going to miss Nolan and Alex from last year, but we have a lot of young guys with talent. Our numbers are pretty good, which I hope will help us build a little bit.”
Coach: Larry Newell, 15th season
Last year at state: 13th place AA (7½ points)
Returning state placers (2): Taylor Trollope, Jr., 300 hurdles-6th; Trey Haidle, Jr., high jump-6th.
Others to watch: Drake Schafer, Sr., sprints; Kendal Manuel, Jr., sprints, jumps; Tre’von Strong, Jr., sprints, jumps; Jalen Whitley, Sr., throws; Riley Barta, Jr., hurdles; Trevor Hopf, Sr., shot put; Reece Quade, Sr., sprints, throws; Mason Carle, Jr., 400; Tanner Beld, Jr., javelin.
Season outlook: The Falcons are hoping another year of experience will translate into improved performances for several of their young athletes. Kendal Manuel and Tre’von strong, both strong athletes, have potential. Drake Schafer sat out last season recovering from a knee injury but looks to reclaim the mantle of the team’s top sprinter.
Coach Newell says: “We are young but we feel we’re very talented. We had a ton of kids that were right on the bubble at divisionals last year. A lot of these boys have gotten another year of maturity, so who knows?”
Coach: Rob Stanton, 12th season
Last year at state: 3rd place AA (72 points)
Returning state placers (4): Michael Quesenberry, Sr., shot put-3rd; Mark Hovland, Sr., 800-4th; Brett Dringman, Sr., pole vault-5th; Logan Laird, Sr., long jump-6th.
Others to watch: Andrew McLane, Sr., middle distance; Parker Bernhardt, Jr., sprints, hurdles; Brandyn Van Zee, Jr., javelin; Isaac Petsch, Jr., distance; Jory Abelman, So., sprints, hurdles, jumps.
Season outlook: West loses lots of points from last year’s state meet, including those of discus and shot put champion Nick Jackson. Laird isn’t expected to participate in the jumps after tearing his left ACL during football, but looks to put up points in the sprints, especially toward the end of the season.
Coach Stanton says: “Our expectations are always to be in the top three (at state). We don’t have quite as much depth and talent in some areas like we’ve had in the past. We’re going to have to be a lot more blue-collar, and our kids are working pretty hard.”
Coach: Angela Hirt, 8th season
Last year at state: 2nd place A (69 points)
Returning state placers (2): Sean Ward, Sr., javelin-1st; Holden Ryan, Jr., 200-6th.
Others to watch: Michael Gulledge, Jr., middle distance; Alex Fitzgerald, Sr., sprints; Jesse Byorth, Jr., javelin.
Season outlook: The Rams placed second at each of the past two state meets, and took third the year before that. Javelin champion Sean Ward returns, but among the graduated were Dylan Hanser, who won the high jump title, and George Smith, who took second in the 300 hurdles. In all, the team said goodbye to 58 team points from state.
Coach Hirt says: “We’re young this year. We graduated all of our state placers except for Holden and Sean. But we’ve got lots of interested kids, and some kids that have been around. It’ll be challenging to end the season where we ended it last year.”
Coach: Dan Gatley, 3rd season
Last year at state: 4th place A (51½ points)
Returning state placers (2): Ty Mogan, Jr., 1,600-1st, 3,200-1st; Quinton Holmlund, Sr., discus-6th.
Others to watch: Brandon Kubitz, Jr., sprints, jumps; Brandon Kanta, Sr., distance; Garrett Schneider, Jr., distance; Layton Jackson, Sr., middle distance, distance; Zac Allen, Jr., hurdles; Ty Ward, Sr., hurdles, javelin; Michael Buster, Jr., sprints.
Season outlook: Mogan won both distance events at state last year and will be called on to score big points again. The team is looking to Kubitz to make an impact in the sprints. He and Layton Jackson were members of Laurel’s title-winning 1,600-meter relay team last season. Holmlund leads a group of throwers that expects to improve.
Coach Gatley says: “It’s a good group. We’re awfully excited. We’re also pretty young. We’ve got some juniors at some important spots. We can be right up there in the mix if some of these kids can perform the way we think they can.”
-- Compiled by Greg Rachac, Gazette Staff