This will be a unique season for Marion County high school track athletes with all five schools returning state contenders.
Adding another twist to the competition, Goessel will now compete in class 2A, making their performances even more important than before.
Marion High School has leadership from returning letter-winners and has the rare opportunity to bring back multiple state champions.
Julia Zeiner, the 3A state champion in the long jump and triple jump, finishes her sterling sports career and her senior season with the Warriors.
Warrior senior Nick Klenda is back to defend his 3A title in the discus.
Along with her championship accomplishments, Zeiner was also a second-place state medalist in the 300-meter hurdles and was part of the fifth-place 4x100-meter relay team with fellow seniors Danae Edwards and Kristen Steinborn.
Other state medalists include Tylor Neil, who was fourth in the triple jump at state and Ryan Jones and Eric Vogel, who were part of the seventh-place 4x800-meter relay team.
The Warriors placed fifth (boys) and seventh (girls) as a team in Wichita in 2009.
Finishing slightly behind Zeiner was Hillsboro’s Dakota Kaufman. Kaufman finished second in the triple jump and third in the long jump in state.
Other Hillsboro High School track state qualifiers were Callie Serene and Nathan Vogel both qualified for the state tournament in the 800-meter run. Vogel also qualified in the 1600.
Peabody-Burns High School had six athletes qualify for the 2A state meet.
Junior Lauren Pickens is the defending state champion in the 100, 200, and 400-meter dashes.
Seniors Aaron Topham and Josh Klarmann as distance runners, and Isaac Burnett in discus all qualified.
Junior distance runner Sheldon Wiebe and junior thrower Spencer Moffett also qualified.
The Goessel High School boys track team is looking to improve on a second-place finish at Wichita in 2009.
Weston Hiebert, Cameron Stultz, and John Berkholz are the returning members of the state champion 4x100 relay team. Hiebert, Stultz, Berkholz all were all state qualifying sprinters and Hiebert also qualified in the high jump.
Laird Goertzen was also a state qualifier in the 3200-meter run. Corey Buller is returning member of the state qualifying 4x800-meter relay. Jared Reimer also ran the 1600 and 3200 at state.
Seniors Aspen Frey, Karina Harvey, and Kristen Hoffman medaled at the state meet with their school record-breaking 4x800-meter relay time. Frey also competed in the 1600 and Harvey ran the 800 at state.
Kendra Flaming also qualified in the 400.
The Centre High School has one returning state qualifier — Josie Peterson. Peterson qualified in the shot put but Head Coach Alan Stahlecker said that shot put is the weakest of her throws: javelin and discus being her strong suits.