Experience should boost boys
With versatility being among its strongest assets, optimism is running high with the Canby-Minneota track teams this season.
“I believe one of our biggest strengths this year will be that we have athletes that will be very competitive in a variety of events,” said Sara Hemish, now in her third year as head coach of the Canby-Minneota boys and girls tracks teams. “Sometimes you have a year where you have really good distance runners, or jumpers, etc. But I believe we have athletes in all of our categories that will do very well.” And both teams have set goals of winning the Camden Conference title.
“I think both teams will be very successful,” said Sara Hemish, now in her third year as head coach of the Canby-Minneota boys and girls track teams.
“Our True Team section has had some changes that will make that meet more interesting this year.”
Hemish, who is in her fifth year working with throwers, will be assisted again this year by Beth Jessen (distance), Tony Ourada (jumps) and Zach Traphagen (sprints). “With track, the only real difference between the head coach and the assistant coaches is who is responsible for the paper work,” Hemish remarked.
“Each of us has our area we work most directly with, and so it is truly a team effort for the coaches as well as the athletes.”
The 75 boys and girls that comprise the C-M track teams opened the season with an indoor meet last Tuesday in Redwood Falls.
On Monday, the team competed in the big South Dakota State University meet in Brookings.
While the boys track team has only four seniors, it can still be classified as an experienced group with three-fourths of the 4 x 200 state relay team (Carter Wente, Isaac Hennen and Cameron Anderson) returning, as well as state qualifiers Wente in the 110 hurdles and Hennen in the long jump.
Anthony Wollum, a senior, advanced to the state competition two years ago as a sophomore and placed 12th in the 3,200 run.
In all, there are 24 boys out for track this spring in grades 9-12, plus eight junior high competitors.
“Our numbers is one of our greatest strengths this year for the boys team,” Hemish noted. “We have one of the largest number of senior high boys we have had since I started with the program seven years ago.”
“When you combine our numbers with the balance of speed, strength and endurance that our athletes have, it makes for a very exciting season.”
The relay team, which included the now-graduated Trevor VanDePutte, failed to qualify for the state finals after running 1:35.44, down from the section runner-up time of 1:33.54.
Hennen, a senior, has participated at state in football and narrowly missed a chance to complete the state trifecta when the boys’ basketball team lost a close game in the Section 3A championship to eventual Class A state champion Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.
The speedy Hennen, who anchored the relay team, added long jump to his arsenal that included sprints last spring and reached the state meet with a personal-best leap of 21-03/4 to finish second in the section meet.
His previous best jump before sections was 19-7. “Isaac’s 21-foot state qualifying jump shows what Isaac is capable of doing,” said Hemish.
“There are so many variables that contribute to a successful jump. If Isaac is able to perfect his technique, I think he is very capable of repeating that performance.”
Hennen also was on the 4 x 100 relay team last year that was 10th at sections in 43.96.
Sophomore Cameron Anderson was also a member of that relay, as well as a pole vaulter where his 8-9 vault in sections placed him 15th.
Wente, a junior, advanced to state last year in the 110 hurdles after winning the section crown in a personal-best time of 16.20.
He ran 16.52 at state, but failed to qualify for the finals. Wente was eighth in the 300 hurdles at sections in 43.46.
“Carter puts in a lot of time after practice working on his technique,” Hemish said.
“This time and effort continues to pay off for him and I anticipate he will continue to improve as his strength and technique improve.”
Wollum was fourth in the sectionals in the 3,200 run in 10:30.06; and was a member of the 4 x 100 relay team that included Jared Josephson, a junior; Alexander Full, a sophomore; and Jalyn Ufkin, a junior, all who are returning this year.
Josephson, a junior, was also 10th at sections in the 400 dash in 54.06. Ufkin is a junior, and Full a sophomore this year.