By Becky Walz,
Maturation of the underclassmen will be the key to the season for the South Winn boys’ track team in 2022.
The Warriors will need their younger athletes to find a spot on the varsity line-up in order for the Warriors to bring home the Upper Iowa Conference title for the second year in a row.
Looking to guide the Warriors to a victory is Coach Scott Conway. He will be assisted by SW girls’ coach Kevin Kearney, Jason Ohrt, Ethan Adams and Darcy Einck.
What a year
After having not competed in 2020, the Warriors were ready for the 2021 season with 30 athletes including 12 letter winners lacing up the spikes.
By the end of the season, South Winn was in fine form, winning the Upper Iowa Conference crown with 170 points, winning five events. Individually it was Dominic Sisneros crowned the 400-meter hurdle champion in 58.45 seconds. He also anchored the winning shuttle hurdle relay team to a gold-medal performance with Keagen Streeter, Parker Timp and Brady Ohrt. Teaming up in the 4×100 relay for gold were Cael Kuboushek, Evan Bushman, Sam Conway and Jacob Herold. Bushman, Kuboushek, Toby Conway and Herold were the winning foursome in the 4×200, while Isaiah Kruckman broke the tape in the 3200-meter race.
At the state qualifying meet, the Warriors finished first in the Class 1A event and sent seven events to the blue oval at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Once at state, the Warriors secured five points as the 4×100 relay of Kuboushek, Bushman, S. Conway and Herold finished fourth in 45.01 seconds. The same foursome placed 10th in the 4×200 in 1:33.00, while Sisneros raced to a career-best time of 58.17 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles to place 10th overall. Herold finished his career in 20th place of the 200-meter dash in 23.78 seconds. S. Conway earned 14th over in the 100-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 11.58 seconds, while Kruckman concluded his season in 15th place in the 3200-meter run in 10:32.03. It was Zach Taylor, Ethan Luzum, Logan Hageman and Toby Conway combining for a time of 3:55.53 in the distance medley relay, coming home in 23rd place.
The Warriors in 2022 will feature a squad of 35 members. They include seniors Ethan Timp, Isaiah Kruckman, Ethan Maldonado, Nick Holien, Trey Kriener, Evan Bushman, Dayten Ondrashek, Chance Adam, Lane Quandahl and Sam Conway, along with returning letter winners Hunter Wagner, Keagen Streeter, Kyle Hageman, Chase Adam, Omar Flores, Alex Ellingson, Abe Conway, Brady Ohrt, Bo Wangsness and Brody Tieskoetter.
They will be joined by Kaden Bullerman, Maxwell Moonen, Casey Bohr, Parker Timp, Aiden Feickert, Xavier Gullickson, Kole Hageman, John Donovan, Gavin Bullerman, Orving Flores, Mason Zweibahmer, Nolan Sabelka, Lukas Weiss, Andres Macario and Kaden Barton-Franzen.
“We bring back a good crew from last year with a wholesome mix of field events, sprinters, hurdlers and distance runners, which will allow us to be competitive in most events,” said Coach Conway. “We also have a nice mix of upper and under classmen.”
Leaders of the pack
With the large group of seniors and letter winners, Conway likes what he has to work with.
“Many of these guys have competed at a high level in their other sports and it helps to have experience in big competitions when it gets to the end of the year,” said Coach Conway. “We lost a talented group of seniors that also provided a great deal of leadership. This group of seniors will need to find their own way to lead and be examples to our younger athletes.”
When it comes to the conference race, anything could happen.
“I think this is going to be an interesting year as there are a number of teams that have strong junior and senior classes. Any time a team has good numbers and athletic upperclassmen, they are going be good. North Fayette Valley, MFL MarMac, Clayton Ridge, Kee High and Turkey Valley will all have that this year,” noted Coach Conway. “But I think we will be in that mix of top-five teams.”
As always, the Warriors will need to grow all season long and avoid the injury bug in order to find themselves at the top in May.
The Warriors close the indoor portion of the season Friday, March 25, at the UIC indoor meet. The first outdoor meet of the year is Tuesday, March 29, at Sumner-Fredericksburg.