Winner High School track team will return athletes who have state experience.
The season is already underway as the first meet of the season was the Bill Pistulka Invitational which was held Friday in Winner.
Head coach of the track teams this year is Larry Aaker who is taking over from his brother, Dan Aaker, who served as head track coach for five years.
Larry Aaker says the team has some lofty goals. Some of the goals are to be the Big Dakota and region champions plus place in the top four at the state meet.
This year the state track meet will be in the Black Hills with the first day for Class A teams in Spearfish and then all classes competing in Rapid City at the South Dakota School of Mines field on the second day.
There are 17 girls out for track. The returning letterwinners are: Chloe Bartels, Sydney Fritz, Calah Covey, Hayley Halverson, Deloris Herman, Kylie Horstman, Kyran Meek, Casey Norrid, Alexis Richey, Samantha Schuyler, Sydney Schuyler, Rachel Sherman and Skyler VanDenHul.
The Lady Warriors have a lot of girls throwing the shot put and discus. Herman competed at state last year in the weights.
Girls who will be throwers will be: Bailey Baker, Covey, Brindi Felix, Herman, Meek, Casey Norrid, Lauren Norrd.
Sprinters will be Kelsey Bertram, Covey, Sydney Fritz, Horstman, Meek, Sherman and VanDenHul.
Leading the distance runners will be Chloe Bartels, Hayley Halverson, Alexis Richey. Senior Sydney Schuyler will be in the mix as a middle distance runner and will be running some sprints.
There are not a lot of numbers in the girls field events. VanDenHul will be a hurdler in addition to competing in the triple jump.
Aaker sees the medley relay as being the strongest for the girls. He says the girls should be competitive in relays.
The girls have had the advance of a full week of practice over the boys. With Winner boys playing in the State A basketball tournament, they did not report for track practice until March 24.
There are solid numbers on the boys side with 30 athletes out for track.
A lot of experience will return when the boys step on the track.
The returning lettermen for the boys are: Windsor Barry, Trevor Bertram, Nick Blare, Kayleb Brozik, Chet Bryan, Drew DeMers, Luke Engel, Wyatt Ewing Nathan Galbraith, Tyrel Haley, Brendan Harter, Nick Hossle, Kelly Kidwiler, John Kludt, Cameron Kuil, Isaac Naasz, Sam Naasz, Trevor Sachtjen, Jayden Schroeder, Coleton Schuyler, Ryan Sherman and Jace Voegeli.
Like the girls, the Warriors have a lot of athletes throwing the shot put and discus. The squad is led by Harter who qualified for the state meet a year ago.
Competing in shot and discus this year are: Harter, Blare, Bryan, Ewing, Kidwiler, Kludt, Levi McClanahan, Sachtjen, Alex Schaeffer, Schroeder, Sherman and Voegeli.
In the field events, long jumpers will be Hossle, Barry, DeMers, Riley Calhoon and Cameron Kuil.
Barry, Isaac Naasz and DeMers will be in the triple jump.
Brozik will high jump.
Leaders in the hurdles will be Tyrel Haley and Sam Naasz. Aaker says Haley will concentrate on the 300 hurdles.
The field of sprinters is strong with Galbraith returning following his 7th place finish in the 400 at state a year ago.
Other sprinters will be Barry, Calhoon, DeMers, Haley, Hossle, Kuil, Mike Massa, McClanahan, Sam and Isaac Naasz, Schroeder, Mason Schuyler and Ian Tunnissen.
The distance runners will be led by senior Coleton Schuyler. Other mid to long distance runners will be Bertram, Brozik, Izak Moleterno and Engel.
With the good crew of sprinters and distance runner the Warriors will be able to have a great pool to choose from for relays. Last year at state, the medley took fourth place. This relay is fortunate to have three of the four runners returning. Back on this relay are Sam Naasz, Nate Galbraith and Schuyler.
Aaker says the medley looks to be the strongest relay but all the others will also be competitive.
“One of our goals is to get all of our relays qualified for state,” said Aaker.
Assistant coaches are Glenn Carlson, Jaime Keiser, Lindsey Foster and Brett Gardner.