SPRING PREVIEW: Canby/Minneota track

Photo courtesy of Laura’s Photography Pictured above is the Canby/Minneota girls track and field team. Team members include: Aidyn Bruns, Mariah Buysse, Lacie DeVos, Grace Drietz, Alexis Dritz, Kale Dritz, Grace Fairchild, Brooklyn Frensko, Lizzy Gillingham, Alessia Gionudi, Mya Gorder, RyAnn Hansen, Makenzie Hemish, Grace Hennen, Isabelle Hennen, Mariah Hennen, Brittany Hentges, Kaytlin Hoffman, Delaney Houseman, Kylinn Hulzebos, Cassidy Hunt, Mackenzie Janiszeski, Hannah Jelen, Brooklyn Kindopp, Kameron King, Jadyn Krier, Megan Krog, Kortney Leppke, Kaitlyn Ludwikowski, Braelyn Merritt, Cheyenne Milbrandt, Lilli Opdahl, Sylvia Rabaey, Kara Rangaard, McKenzie Ruether, Faith Traen, Gabby Verhelst, Kalee Verhelst, Paige Viessman, Paige Welsh, Maya Wente, Alexis Wollum and Elysa Wollum.

CANBY – The Canby/Minneota track and field team will look to replicate its sucess from a season ago this spring under fourth-year head coach Sara Hemish.

Boys Track

It’s no secret that over the past couple of seasons the Minneota/Canby boys track and field team has derived much of its success from its talented collection of sprinters who have made consecutive state tournament appearances in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays and appear poised to make the trip again.

According to Hemish, the team will count on the group to lead the way this season with some question marks still remaining at other areas where they remain young.

“Our strengths right now for the boys is definitely the sprinters,” said Hemish. “We’ve had, for the last several years, the 4×100 and the 4×200 in the state tournament so they’ve been pretty consistent with that. We’ve been rebuilding our throws and our distance is young, we’re starting to build that up again but we’re young. Field events we’re young. So our boys definitely dominate the sprints, in the other areas we’re young and building.”

Among the returning sprinters who made the trip to state a year ago are seniors Jared Josephson, Cole VanOverbeke and Carter Wente. Junior Cameron Anderson also enters the season with state tournament experience after joining Wente, VanOverbeke and 2018 graduate Isaac Hennen on the 4×100 relay team.

The group, along with a talented cast of newcomers, have already shown great promise early in the season after opening up the season with a third-place finish at the Murray County Central Rebel Relays that saw Wente finish atop the leaderboards in the triple jump, along with a first-place finish in the SMR 1600-meter relay comprised of Wente, Jaden Kindopp, A.J. Josephson and Jalyn Ufkin.

Hemish hopes to use the momentum built from their early success to hopefully knock off the defending conference champions of LQPV and perhaps even earn a trip to the true-team state tournament.

“They’ve taken second to LQPV the last couple years in the conference (so we’re) hoping to go out and maybe be able to throw them off of their throne this year, and just try to put people in positions to see what we can do at the true team meet. Those are our two biggest team goals.”

Girls Track

The Minneota/Canby girls track and field team enters the 2019 season as one of the favorites to capture the Camden Conference title after completing the feat last season and returning numerous contributors from that team. According to Hemish, the girls are hungry for a repeat and have been working hard to set themselves up for success once again.

“They got a little taste of what it was like to have that success and they’re willing to continue to work for that and they’re hungry to keep going back,” said Hemish. “We see that in them doing what we’ve asked and their willingness to do whatever we ask them to do for the betterment of the program.”

Among those leading the charge for another successful season are the three senior leaders of the team in Lizzy Gillingham, Kameron King and Isabelle Hennen. The Vikings also return freshman Grace Drietz, who placed individually in the 800 meter run and 1600. The group, according to Hemish, is rock-solid with dependable components up and down the lineup.

“Our girls are just really solid. We don’t have tons and tons of superstars but we have a lot of hard-working, quality kids,” said Hemish. “They’ve done everything that we’ve ever asked them to do which has made us be successful.”