STRIVE: Spring Sports Preview-Goessel 2009


12 returning state qualifiers raise GHS track aspirations


Coming off a remarkable performance in coach Chad Guhr?s first year, the Goessel track team returns 12 state qualifiers?seven boys, five girls: back row (from left) Travis Fensky, Cameron Stultz, Craig Banman, Weston Hiebert, Austin Unruh, Anthony Esau, John Berkholz; front row, Kristen Hoffman, Amy Brubaker, Aspen Frey, Kendra Flaming, Karina Harvey.

With all but one of the boys? state qualifiers returning from the 2008 runner-up team, Goessel High School track coach Curtis Guhr is primed for another highly successful season in his second year in charge of the program.

Guhr?s girls? squad returns every member of its state qualifying 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams.

The Bluebirds 4×400 group?Amy Brubaker, Aspen Frey, Karina Harvey and Kendra Flaming?placed 14th in the Class 1A prelims at 4:30.00. The 4×800 crew of Frey, Harvey, Kristen Hoffman and Flaming posted the 11th-best prelim time at 10:55.06.

The boys graduated Grady Stultz, but bring back four high-octane athletes: Craig Banman, who won the 200 (23.06), the 300-meter hurdles (40:34) and anchored the 4×400 (3:29.09) team that included John Berkholz, Grady Stultz and Weston Hiebert.

Banman also tied for third in the pole vault by clearing 13 feet, 6 inches.

Returning sprinter Cameron Stultz posted the ninth-best 100-meter prelim time (11.89) while Berkholz posted the 13th-best prelim time in the 400 at 54.14.

?We also return several athletes for both teams that missed making it to state by one place,? Guhr said. ?We are looking forward to a good year again.?

Guhr identified the strengths in the distance races and relays on the girls. team, which placed 11th in the Heart of America league.

Kendra Flaming (400) and Aspen Frey (1,600) both have an opportunity to make good on the potential they displayed by coming within one place of qualifying to run at Cessna Stadium.

The girls? team also returns letter-winner Shanna Klassen.

The Bluebirds have nine letter-winners returning for the boys: the above-mentioned state qualifiers, plus Travis Fensky, Anthony Esau, Evan Hiebert, Jared Reimer and Laird Goert?zen.

?Strengths for the boys will the sprints,? Guhr said.

Fensky (100), Cameron Stultz (200), Weston Hiebert (300 hurdles) and Esau (long jump) may each have a chip on the shoulders entering 2009?each missed making the cut for the state meet by one place.

The boys placed fifth in the HOA and, with 35 points, tied for second in Class 1A with South Gray.

?With so many returning letter-winners we are looking forward to another great year in the Goessel track program,? Guhr said.

The Bluebirds? season opens April 7 at the Peabody-Burns quint.

Youngsters must fill void to return Goessel golf to state



The Goessel High School golf team has six juniors and two sophomores vying for six varsity spots. Returning letter-winners Hayden Goerzen and Tyler Schmidt earned experience at the state meet last year. Pictured are: back row (from left), Schmidt, Bryant Miller, Aaron Reimer, Goerzen and Chad Wedel; front row, Jake Smucker, Neal Brubaker and Austin Cooper.


The Goessel High School golf team took first place in the Heart of America, first place at the Kinsley Regional, and fell just nine strokes short of Quivera Heights, which won the state title at Dodge City.

A repeat performance may be difficult in light of the graduation of five of coach Greg Bontrager?s 2008 varsity.

Goessel graduated headliners Nathan Ensz and Derek Brown as well as Cameron Voth and Sam Lehrman, leaving only juniors Tyler Schmidt and Hayden Goerzen to return as letter-winners.

But with his two state-quality returners in place, Bontrager hopes passion for golf will infect every level the roster.

?After an incredible season last year, we are all excited to see what will happen as the younger golfers step up,? Bontrager said. ?Tyler and Hayden?s state experience will hopefully spark interest in some of the other potential varsity golfers to train hard for post-season successes.?

Schmidt took second in the HOA and added a seventh-place medal at regionals. Goertzen placed eighth in the league.

The Bluebirds do not have a returning senior on the roster, but juniors Austin Cooper, Bryant Miller, Chad Wedel, Neal Brubaker and Jake Smucker all gained varsity experience ?that will help them this year,? Bontrager said.

Bontrager has 13 others on the roster, nine of whom are new to the program. Of the nine newcomers, six are freshmen.

?We have a great group of new golfers out this year so it will be fun to watch them learn this extremely frustrating game,? Bontrager said.

The Bluebirds open at 1 p.m. April 7 at Herington.

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