MHS track aims for state

These seniors and returning state qualifiers will form a solid core for the Marion track and field team this season: front row (from left) Marissa Jacobson, Sam Richmond, Colin Williams, Devin Regnier, Jeremy Hett; (back row) Tyler Arocha, Jack Schneider, Tyler Palic, Cade Harms, Aaron Riggs. Not pictured: Bryce Shults.
These seniors and returning state qualifiers will form a solid core for the Marion track and field team this season: front row (from left) Marissa Jacobson, Sam Richmond, Colin Williams, Devin Regnier, Jeremy Hett; (back row) Tyler Arocha, Jack Schneider, Tyler Palic, Cade Harms, Aaron Riggs. Not pictured: Bryce Shults.
The Marion track and field team returns five state qualifiers to whom 18th-year coach Grant Thierolf will look to lead the team this season.

The Warriors swept the boys’ and girls’ Heart of America league team titles a season ago. Marion qualified 11 events for the state meet in Class 3A and brought home nine medals. The Warriors will pursue success again this season.

Boys’ team—With the exception of Nicholas Stuchlik and Jerid Schafers, Marion returns its entire roster, including four state qualifiers from last year’s 10th-place state team.

Junior Tyler Palic was Marion’s highest finisher at the state meet. He placed third in the discus with a throw of 148 feet, 6 inches. He also will throw the shot put and the javelin.

“Tyler is one of the state’s top discus throwers,” Thierolf said. “(He) looks to improve in the shot put and javelin.”

Junior Jack Schneider turned in fourth-place state finishes in both the 100-meter dash (11.26 seconds) and 200 (23.03).

“Jack is one of the top sprinters in the state, regard­less of class,” Thier­olf said, adding that he is “getting better all the time” after returning from a knee injury during football.

Junior Colin Williams placed fifth in the 1,600 at state in 4:46.52.

“Colin has his sights set on some vastly improved times in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs this year,” Thierolf said. “He is a very determined young man.”

Senior Bryce Shults finished sixth at state in the pole vault (12-6).

“Bryce is one of the top pole-vaulters in the state,” Thierolf said. “(He) is looking for a great senior year.”

For the returning state qualifiers, the bar has been raised for this season.

“We know what they can do,” Thierolf said. “Now it’s just a matter of taking that next step and being a little stronger and a little bit faster as we go because the expectations get a little bit better.”

Five additional seniors join Shults on the roster.

Tyler Arocha will run the 200 and the 400.

“Tyler is primed for a big year in the sprints for us,” Thierolf said. “He will run both open events and relays.”

Cade Harms will throw the shot put and the javelin, while Jeremy Hett will throw shot put and discus.

Aaron Riggs will throw the shot put and is expected to be a member of the 4×100.

“Aaron is one of those guys that can fill in a lot of different places,” Thierolf said. “He can do some sprinting for us. He can do some throwing for us. It’s just a matter of connecting it all together for him.

Devin Regnier will run the 800 and the 1,600.

“(He) looks to end his senior year with another run at a league title,” Thierolf said.

Four juniors grace the roster. Austin Neufeld will compete in pole vault, while Zachary Stuchlik will participate in high jump, long jump and triple jump.

“Zach’s a whole lot stronger than he’s been,” Thierolf said. “I think in the jumps, he’ll be successful.”

Kolton Brewer will run the 100 and the 200, while Caleb Hett will throw the shot put and discus.

Three sophomores will also contribute. Noah Dalrymple will compete in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.

“We look for some good contributions from (Noah) in the jumps and possibly in the sprints,” Thierolf said.

Colton Mercer will run the 800 and the 1,600. Charlie Nordquist will throw the shot put, discus and javelin.

“We hope Colton Mercer takes that next step in the distance runs and Charlie Nordquist gets a little bit better for us in the discus, which I think he will,” Thierolf said.

Thierolf expressed confidence in his boys’ team.

“A vast majority of them have worked to get better at what they do, so we hope we’re stronger,” he said. “I know most of our kids are stronger. We hope we’re faster. We hope our young kids, sophomores, step up and add some depth. Right now, we feel pretty comfortable with our boys’ team because they are known contributors.”

Girls’ team—The Marion girls sustained significant losses with the graduation of three state qualifiers from last year’s 16th-place state team: Kristen Herzet, Mar­shelle Conley and McKenzee Remmers. Also graduating were Erika Hess, Brittany Hett and Emily Schneider.

Senior Marissa Jacobson is Marion’s only returning state qualifier. She placed fourth at state in the long jump (16-13⁄4) and fifth in the triple jump (35-31⁄4).

“The challenge is going to be, what events is she going to be involved in this year,” Thierolf said. “We know she’ll long jump and triple jump, but we’ll kind of play it by ear and see where she fits into state things for her next two events.”

Senior Emily Hague, who also plays softball, may compete in distance races when possible, Thierolf said.

Four juniors are also expected to contribute.

Sam Richmond will run the 200 and the 400.

“Sam has done a great job for us the last two years,” Thierolf said. “We expect good things out of her.”

Meggan Frese will anchor the distance races in the 1,600 and the 3,200.

“Meggan is in better shape than she’s ever been coming into a season,” Thierolf said. “We look forward to seeing what she can do in the distance runs.”

Marion will compete without state medalist Kris­ten Herzet in the throws. She finished second in the discus and 11th in the shot put a year ago.

This season, Courtney Herzet will throw the shot put, discus and javelin, while Jessi Lewman will throw the javelin and run the 800.

“In the throws, we’re going to have to replace Kristen Herzet with a whole group of kids,” Thierolf said. “Courtney Herzet’s going to start throwing for us this year. She didn’t throw last year, so we’re kind of converting her. Jessi Lewman has some possibilities as a thrower.

“Courtney and Jessi are kind of our Swiss Army Knives. They can do a number of events.”

Three sophomores will aid the team’s effort.

Drew Helmer will throw the discus, while Michaela Regnier will participate in the pole vault. Emmy Hess will compete in the 100 and 300 hurdles and triple jump.

With the loss of so many seniors, the girls are relatively young and untested.

“It’s going to be a wide-ranging goal of ours to try to fit kids into the best positions, and then hopefully they can have success there,” Thierolf said. “They’re going to be young, pretty untested, but we hope that they can mature by the end of the season.”

Outlook

Thierolf’s goals for the season remain unchanging.

“We’re going to try to win the league, we’re going to try to win the regional and we’re going to give our best shot at winning state,” he said. “Those goals never change. Hopefully, we can get that done.

“That should be a goal of ours definitely on the boys’ side,” he added. “On the girls’ side, it’s going to be a matter of building depth through the course of the year. Our boys should be poised to do a lot of those things. We hope that we can stay healthy and get them done.”

Marion will open the season April 4 at Herington.