Returning talent strong for boys
In 33 years at the helm of Gothenburg’s track program, Swede coach Steve Reeves knows quite clearly how the talent which fosters the school’s track and field tradition continues to come and go.
Recognizing that several four-year contributors graduated last spring, Reeves said the 2012 boys track team will take on a new identity.
“Replacing those kids who graduated last year will be difficult,” he said, “but I know we’ll have kids step up. It might not be in the same areas, but we’re going to have boys who earn plenty of points for the team.”
Reeves sees the Swedes’ strength starting with the five returning state qualifiers and growing from there.
Senior Brett Dockweiler and junior Dillon Gartner each competed at state last year in two events.
Dockweiler ran in both distance races and a relay while Gartner threw in both the shot and discus.
Senior Bryce Eggleston and junior Logan Sheets each earned fourth-place medals as relay participants.
Senior Alec Foster ran the high hurdles in Omaha as a member of Cozad’s team and Reeves expects senior Brandon Wlasiuk’s versatility to prove valuable to the team.
In addition, Reeves said there are sophomores and juniors who competed well for the Swedes in all of the other seasons and he expects that to continue this spring.
“It will be fun to see where we’re at as we get things rolling,” the coach said.
Gothenburg opens this 2012 season at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Class B Indoor Invite in Kearney on Saturday.
“An indoor meet like that allows you to look at what you start with and where you need to go,” Reeves said. “It seems so early and there are a lot of activity conflicts this time of year but we always walk away from the UNK meet encouraged.”
Competition among Southwest Conference schools could prove to be exciting this season.
“It seems like every conference school has good athletes,” Reeves said. “It’s always interesting to see who is out, who is improved and how injuries can play a big role.”
Reeves expects Cozad to be the front-runner in the SWC with strengths in both the sprints and distance races as well as the field events.
With the B-6 district meet at home this year, Reeves said Gothenburg athletes will have that home-field advantage but it will be hard for the Swedes to match Scottsbluff, Gering and McCook depth.
“They always put a lot of kids out there,” he said. “It will definitely be nice to be at home.”
The Swedes will compete in Gothenburg four times with a reserve quadrangular on April 3, the Dutch Zorn Invite April 13, the Brady/Gothenburg Invite on April 17 and the B-6 district May 10.
Members of the 2012 Swede boys track team are (*denotes letter winner):
SENIORS—Brett Dockweiler*, Bryce Eggleston*, Alec Foster*, Ernie Galvan*, Paxton Gruber*, Brandon Wlasiuk*.
JUNIORS—Eric Cole, Aaron Collins*, Preston Franzen*, Dillon Gartner*, Logan Koehler*, Jake Matthies*, Logan Sheets*, Alex Spencer*.
SOPHOMORES—Curtis Andres, Chase Dachtler, Skyler Kottwitz*, Ross Ostendorf, Blake Ristine*, Roy Slack.
FRESHMEN—Mason Ackerman, Keyan Anderson, Tanner Borchardt, Sean Canas, Jacob Clark, Dirk Earll, Seth Eggleston, Dylan Folkers, Jacob Franzen, Sam LaFuze, Jordan Lauer, Justin Sabin, Connor Schwanz, Brennan Spencer, Levi Tripp.