By Becky Walz,
Finding a strong blend of senior experience and young enthusiasm will be what propels the South Winn boys track team this spring.
The Warriors return 10 letter winners and have a large host of newcomers to the program looking to find a place on the oval.
Putting together the squad is head coach Scott Conway, who has guided the Warriors for 21 seasons. He will be assisted by girls’ head coach Kevin Kearney as well as Jason Ohrt, Ethan Adams and Darcy Einck.
Headed to state
Much like this year, the Warriors of 2022 featured a nucleus of talented seniors mixed with strong underclassmen hoping to make their own mark.
The season progressed at a strong pace, leading up to the Upper Iowa Conference meet. For the second year in a row, South Winn captured the league title, edging North Fayette Valley by two points. The Warriors had three individuals with gold-medal performances with Kaden Barton-Franzen in the high jump, Sam Conway in the 200-meter dash and Isaiah Kruckman in the 800-meter run.
A week later at the state qualifying meet, the boys finished fifth, sending five events to state. On the Blue Oval, South Winn didn’t garner any points, but put up strong efforts with Kruckman finishing 11th in the 1600-meter run and 15th in the 3200-meter run. Ethan Timp finished 17th in the shot put, while S. Conway wrapped up his career in 19th place in the 100-meter dash. Also on the track was the 4×100 relay, which finished 18th.
Following the conclusion of the season, the Warriors graduated Chance Adam, Evan Bushman, Sam Conway, Logan Hageman, Nick Holien, Trey Kriener, Isaiah Kruckman, Ethan Maldonado, Dayten Ondrashek, Lane Quandahl and Ethan Timp.
“We graduated a lot of guys that scored a lot of points for us at conference and districts last year. Plus, we had quite a few guys in that group with state competition experience in multiple sports,” said Coach Conway.
The Warriors of 2023 will feature nearly 30 athletes. At the top of the list are returning letter winners: seniors Keagen Streeter, Omar Flores, Hunter Wagner, Kyle Hageman, Kaden Bullerman; juniors Brady Ohrt, Abe Conway, Brody Tieskoetter and Bo Wangsness; and sophomores Kaden Barton-Franzen and Lukas Weiss.
They will be joined by fellow upperclassmen, seniors Nathan Davis and Carlos Macario; juniors Casey Bohr, Max Moonen, Chandler Riehle and Parker Timp; and sophomores Tristen Bodensteiner, Irving Flores, Brennan Franzen and Nolan Sabelka. Rounding out the squad are freshmen Brad Dahl, Eric Greve, Kyle Kuboushek, Landon Schnuelle, Logan Tieskoetter and Noah Gullickson.
“We have a good mix of sprinters, distance runners and field events. Furthermore, we’ve got a good group of experienced returners and new runners,” noted Coach Conway. “We had some guys that were hurt during last season that would have been major contributors and are healthy this year.”
The Warriors will have to do some mixing and matching in order to find the right combination to fill out the team the best.
“We have a big group of newcomers, and throughout the season we will be working to find out how to best utilize the guys we have,” saic Coach Conway.
In the conference race, Coach Conway believes North Fayette Valley, Clayton Ridge, MFL MarMac and Turkey Valley will again be strong. When it comes to the Warriors, the veteran coach expects to see them in the middle of the UIC.
“We don’t have the depth and flexibility to move people around like we have had in the past. We are going to need to take advantage of our opportunities to get these guys a diverse number of events to find out how to allow them to help us the most,” he added.
But he said it is always good to pick up some new upperclassmen as the Warriors have this year to go with those athletes returning from injuries and the improvements seen in others.