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Boys headline Marion track prospects

State experience gives solid core to build around

News editor

It’s spring, it’s track and field season, and that means Marion coach Grant Thierolf is filled with optimism.

On the boys’ side, that’s optimism bolstered by realism, as three seasoned state competitors, including discus champion Tyler Palic, return.

The same can’t be said for the girls, but Thierolf is nonetheless optimistic from what he’s seen in initial practices.

“On the girls’ side we don’t have that many juniors and seniors, but they’re working awfully hard and our young kids are getting an understanding of what it takes to be successful on the varisty level,” Thierolf said.

Senior runner Sam Richmond has high aspirations in the 100 and 200 meter sprints, Thierolf said.

“Sam had done a great job of leading the girls,” he said. “In her own right she wants to get to the state meet, and she’s had a really good preseason.”

Seniors Courtney Herzet and Jessi Lewman will anchor the throwing events.

“This will be their second year throwing all three of the throws, and they’re going to be a whole lot more comfortable,” Thierolf said.

The coach also expects good things from another senior.

“We’re excited to see what Meggan Frese can do in the distance races for us,” Thierolf said. “She’s been out for four years for us. We’re looking forward to watching her run and finish out her career here.”

When Thierolf called senior Tyler Palic “one of the best discus throwers in the state,” it wasn’t hollow praise. Palic won the 3A state title last year with a throw that also would have won in 6A, 5A, and 2A and tied for first in 1A. Only LeeRoi Johnson of 4A Tonganoxie had a throw farther than Palic’s 175 feet, 11 inches.

Palic also placed sixth at state in shot put.

“He’s gotten better in shot put and javelin,” Thierolf said. “He’s worked hard to become proficient in all three throws.”

Senior Jack Schneider placed third in the 200 at state last year, and will look to return in both the 100 and 200, as well as the 4x400 relay.

At the outset of prior seasons, Schneider has had to overcome injuries incurred in fall and winter sports. Not so this year.

“Jack has been a stalwart of our team for the last three years, and comes into the season healthy for the first time,” Thierolf said. “He gained a lot of strength over the winter. It’s going to be fun to watch him run.”

Senior Colin Williams will seek to reprise last season’s state appearances, looking to improve on his eighth and 16th place finishes in the 1600 and 800 respectively and sixth place in the 4x400.

“Colin had a good winter,” Thierolf said. “He didn’t play basketball this year, so it allowed him to get his conditioning base underneath him. He came in in better running shape and is able to handle a higher volume of work.”

The trio will be complemented by seniors Zach Stuchlik in the jumping events and Austin Neufeld in pole vault. Thierolf said he expects Neufeld to help out in other events as the season progresses.

Thrower Anton Vinduska, long sprinter Colton Mercer, and jumper Noah Dalrymple also have potential to contribute to scoring, Thierolf said.

“By the time league comes around it will be a matter of getting them in the right events,” he said.

There’s always a possibility, too, that someone is waiting in the wings, ready to emerge.

“We always have kids who didn’t medal as a seventh grader and all of a sudden take off their senior year,” Thierolf said. “If kids are willing to take the time and put the work in, it can happen.”

Last modified March 22, 2018

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