Reynolds sees strength in greater numbers
Marc Reynolds takes over the head reins at Wadena-Deer Creek this spring with the aspiration of having larger track and field teams in the years ahead.
The Wolverines failed to send anyone to the state meet last year but Reynolds, who filled an assistant's role, believes better numbers will increase their odds. This year's squad will be buoyed by a promising crop of freshmen and sophomores.
"We've always started the year with numbers ranging from 35-45 kids but we end the year with about 20. I am really trying to stress to my assistant coaches and my kids to have kids try different events. We want them to stay interested," said Reynolds. "In all our sports we need as many kids as possible. As a coach I am a believer in helping other sports out. Playing other sports is going to keep you in shape."
Autumn Jahnke came the closest to a state berth last year with a third place finish in the pole vault. Brody Wangsness was fourth in the 110 high hurdles. Both athletes are back for the 2014 season.
Sutton Lohmiller and Hannah Vorderbruggen, a pair of seventh place finishers in last year's section meet, are also back in the fold. Lohmiller is set to compete in the shot put while Vorderbruggen runs the 1,600.
The WDC boys notched a fourth place finish and the WDC girls had a seventh place team in the 4x800 relay at the section meet.
Reynolds is looking for Danyel Post to join Vorderbruggen, Jahnke, Wangsness and Lohmiller as conference and section favorites this year. Post runs the 400 and 800.
Reynolds also expects to put competitive teams on the track in the 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800.
Seniors on this year's WDC squad include Will Eliason (distance), Harlan Reece (weights) and Hope Theisen (sprints).
Juniors joining Wangsness, Post, Jahnke and Lohmiller are Jessica Wood (weights), Todd Nowacki, Maria Osario (sprints), Keiann Steward (sprints), Tommaso Caramelli (sprints) and Maria Garces (sprints).
Joining Vorderbruggen from the sophomore class are Levente Boross (sprints), Fernando Buxade (sprints), Alex Carlson (sprints, hurdles), Jimmy Kim (distance), Rylie Langer (weights), Briana Malone (sprints), Bruno Orlandin (sprints, weights), Kassi Peterson (distance) and Athea Perez (sprints).
Freshmen include Sam Kelderman (sprints), Dakota Mittag (weights, sprints), Liz Peterson (middle distance, hurdles, pole vault, high jump), Presley Slyster (weights) and Konnor Stueve (distance).
Candidates from the seventh and eighth grade ranks include Vincent Berglund (distance), Isaac Hale (distance), Abby Motschenbacher (distance), Jared Roth (distance), Mackenzie Salge (sprinter), Mckenna Wangsness (sprints), Chase Godel (distance), Tiffany Meeks (distance), Ellie Miron (sprints, weights), Jonathan Pantages (sprints, high jump) and Mitchell Haman (sprints).
Reynolds sees another season ahead with a sprinkling of talent around the area.
"Everyone always has a few individuals," Reynolds said. "Perham is always going to be a very, very competitive team. New York Mills has a Rutten girl that is very good in the 200 and 400. Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale had a very good girls' team last year."
The Wolverines will warm up for the outdoor season with two indoor meets at Bemidji State University March 20 and April 1. Their own invitational is slated for April 14.