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Underclassmen expected to buoy Raiders

There is a youth movement afoot on Jeff Moore’s Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale boys’ track and field team.

With only one senior on their 27-man team the Raiders are in a position to look down the road and prepare for 2013 and beyond. Moore is fielding a team with three juniors, 10 sophomores, one freshman, three freshmen and 12 athletes from the seventh and eighth-grade ranks.

Moore’s club has been in action at Bemidji State already and they are slated to compete in the Pillager Invitational April 18.

Moore has senior Michael Block  tabbed for the 800 and mile.

Juniors on the roster are Austin Chock (100, 200, shot put), Justin Gordon (hurdles, high jump, 4x200) and Cody Mason (discus, shot, 100).

Gordon, a standout on the BHV wrestling team last winter, has cleared the high jump bar at 5-8. He was sixth in the 400 at Bemidji with a 59.61 and placed ninth in the 60 hurdles with a 10.69.

Moore is looking for major contributions from his big sophomore class which includes Albert Boldt (800, 1,600, 3,200), Austin Ortiz (4x100, 4x200, 4x400), Bradyn Sickels (4x200, 4x400, 400, long jump), Collin Morris (100, 200, 400, long jump), Colter Ehrmantraut (100, 200, 400, high jump), Jeremy Engebretson (1,600, 3,200), Marshall Willis (300 hurdles, 4x100, 4x200), Sean Powers (shot put, discus) and Seth Zins (400, 800).

“Bradyn is so quick,” Moore said after seeing him run a fourth place time of 58.22 in 400 at the Bemidji Lions Indoor meet at Bemidji State March 23. Having coached Josh Ganz, one of Section 6A’s outstanding sprinters in 2009, Moore believes Sickels will have to trim six seconds off that time to make noise in the event later this season. 

Morris is a newcomer to the program but Moore anticipates some good scoring from the sophomore.

“He looks strong all around,” Moore said.

Charlie Nicnaber, the team’s lone freshman, is expected to compete in the 800 and 1,600 runs along with the shot put and discus.

Raiders from the eighth-grade ranks include Michael Cantrell (400, 800), Taylor Willis (800, 1,600, hurdles) and Tyler Willis (shot put, discus, 100, 200).

Seventh-graders on the squad are Edward Boldt (800, 1600), Jaden Ehrmantraut (100, 200, long jump),  James Engebretson (800, 1,600), James Follmer (800, 1,600), Jason Peterson (discus, shot put), Jayden Cornell (100, 200, 400), Robert Ismil (100, 200) and Samuel Moore (discus, shot put, 100, 200).

“I think they’ve been doing an outstanding job of working at things with the weather we’ve had,” Moore said.

Moore is picking Otter Tail Central as the team to beat this year in the Park Region Conference. He expects Pillager to challenge the Bulldogs for top honors.