(KMAland) -- Two for the price of one today! And I’m sticking with track and field because things are about to get rolling, and once it gets rolling there’s no stopping that snowball.
Onward with the Rolling Valley Conference boys track & field preview…
PREVIOUS SPRING SPORTS PREVIEWS
ROLLING VALLEY CONFERENCE BOYS TRACK & FIELD PREVIEW
Woodbine won nine golds and scored 173 points on their way to a Rolling Valley Conference championship on April 29th, 2019. They were dominant with a 68-point win over runner-up CAM. The battle for second was a little tighter with Boyer Valley putting up 96. Ar-We-Va and Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton rounded out the top five.
Let’s take a look at what 2021 MIGHT look like…
RETURNING STATE MEDALISTS
It’s a short list. There are two athletes and four total medals returning to this year’s RVC:
-Connor McKee, Senior, CAM (1): McKee was pretty dominant in the 400 hurdles throughout the area during his sophomore year. Now, he’s a senior with hopes of improving on his sixth-place medal in the event in 2019.
-Layne Pryor, Senior, Woodbine (3): He pulled off an amazing trick at the 2019 meet, winning in the discus and running for the fifth-place 4x400 relay team. He also nabbed a seventh-place medal as a freshman on the 4x400 team.
RETURNING INDIVIDUAL STATE QUALIFIERS
This list is also small. It’s only three deep, and it does have two repeats:
-Dylan Hoefer, Junior, Woodbine: I’m anticipating a pretty big year for Hoefer, who was a rare freshman in the shot put state field two years ago.
-Connor McKee, Senior, CAM: Along with his qualification in the 400 hurdles, McKee was also a qualifier in the 110 highs.
-Layne Pryor, Senior, Woodbine: Want some more evidence that this dude is a freak? He also qualified for state in the 400 meter hurdles.
Let’s take a look back at the Rolling Valley Conference meet and the top times, throws and jumps from the 2019 season in this breakdown:
100: The defending champ is actually Pryor, who won the event in a neck-and-neck battle with the graduated Tyler Brummer of Boyer Valley. The only other potential returning scorer from the event was fifth-place Riley Neumann of Ar-We-Va. I would also anticipate CAM junior Lane Spieker – 9th-fastest time in 2019 – might have something to say here.
200: The top seven times from the year and the top five finishers from the meet are all gone. The top-returning athlete from the race is Boyer Valley’s Nathan Gorden, who finished sixth just ahead of Ar-We-Va’s Jonathan Dose. The top-returning time, though, is from Woodbine senior Caleb Wakehouse, who had the 8th-fastest time in 2019.
400: Pryor brings back the fastest time (54.29), but he did not run in the 400 at the RVC in 2019. Boyer Valley’s Greg Mumm is the top finisher in that race, placing fifth. Ar-We-Va’s Luke Smith, Exira/EHK’s Tyler Kingery and Glidden-Ralston’s Brent Lloyd went sixth through eighth, respectively. West Harrison’s Grant Gilgen is into his senior year and had the 8th-fastest time during the course of the season.
800: The top four from the RVC race are gone, so that leaves the top-returning finisher as Boyer Valley’s Nathaniel Green. Green was followed by teammate Adam Puck, and Ar-We-Va’s Cody Self placed eighth. CAM’s Ethan Follmann actually returns the fastest time (2:17.48). He did not run at the RVC meet, but he did have the 9th-fastest time in the half for the season.
1600: Six of the eight that ran the mile at the RVC meet are back, although the top two finishers are gone. The highest finisher was Paton-Churdan senior Connor Brus, who ended up with a 5:13.29 and a third-place finish. CAM’s Follman took fourth while Woodbine’s Conrad Schafer, Boyer Valley’s Michael Heffernan, Ar-We-Va’s Keaton Rosener and Paton-Churdan’s Riley Cullum went 5 through 8. Boyer Valley’s Green (5th) and Ar-We-Va’s Self (8th) were also among the top eight times during the course of the season.
3200: The champ is gone, but the other four that ran the two-mile at the RVC meet have returned to the mix. Follman was the runner-up while Woodbine junior Aidan Carmody took third, Boyer Valley’s Green was fourth and Woodbine’s Nate Wright ended up fifth. Self (Ar-We-Va) and Schafer (Woodbine) had the 7th and 8th-fastest times for the 2019 season.
110 hurdles: The runner-up from the RVC meet – McKee – is back, of course. He is the only runner in the top eight that will be back. The other is sixth-place finisher Cooper Kock of Ar-We-Va.
400 hurdles: There are a bunch of dudes returning here, although the champion is gone. McKee and Pryor went 2-3 at the meet in 2019 while Wakehouse, Glidden-Ralston’s Carter Soyer, Boyer Valley’s Eli Garside and Exira/EHK’s Brock Schlueter are all back after going fifth through eighth, respectively. West Harrison senior Hunter Hansen could be another potential name to watch, as he had the 9th-fastest time during 3019.
High jump: The top three from the meet have gone and graduated, but the rest of the crew that jumped are back. The highest finisher was Coon Rapids-Bayard junior Gabe Obert, who was fifth and followed by Boyer Valley’s Gavin Reineke, Woodbine’s Nathan Colwell and Boyer Valley’s Trevor Malone.
Long jump: Only two from the top eight at the RVC meet two years ago are back in the long jump. The highest finisher was Ar-We-Va junior Will Ragaller, who ended up with a fourth place finish. West Harrison junior Gabe Gilgen placed eighth that day. The aforementioned Spieker is another to watch in this one. He had the sixth-longest jump of the season.
Shot put: Two of the top four finishers from the RVC meet in 2019 are back, but that’s it in the entire top eight. The highest finish was from Hoefer, who took the runner-up spot. Next was CAM junior Colby Rich, who ended up in fourth place. Pryor could mess around and have a pretty good throw, too, as he did have the fourth-longest shot put of the season in the conference.
Discus: Pryor was dominant on his way to winning the conference championship two years ago. He’ll be a big favorite here to do it again. CAM’s Cade Ticknor took fourth in 2019, and Paton-Churdan’s Bradyn Smith was seventh at the meet. Hoefer did not compete at the meet, but he had the 8th-longest throw of the season two years ago.
Here’s a look at the top three or four contenders from two years ago and who COULD be back this year…
4x100: Among the top four relay teams in this event, only three total are back. Exira/EHK won the race, and everyone is gone. CAM finished second, and everyone is gone. Ar-We-Va took third and returns just their second leg (Neumann). Coon Rapids-Bayard, though, was fourth and brings back leg three (Tanner Oswald) and four (Obert).
4x200: Woodbine was far and away the best 4x200 team, and you can tell why since they had Wakehouse and Pryor running the first and anchor legs. Runner-up Exira/EHK had their same 4x100 team running, so everybody is gone. Ar-We-Va also had their same 4x100 team, and that means Neumann (2nd leg) is the only one back. And yeah, Coon Rapids-Bayard did the same as their 4x100, and they placed fourth with a pair of frosh on the backs ide.
4x400: Pryor led off the eventual state medalist-winning 4x400 here, but he is the only one that could return from that foursome. Runner-up Boyer Valley looks potentially good with Malone and Green running second and third. And third-place CAM could bring back their lead (McKee) and their anchor (Joe Kauffman).
4x800: The Tigers won in a tight race with Paton-Churdan, and those teams return three each. The lead for Woodbine is gone, but Colwell, Jerry Malone and Schafer made up the last three legs and could all be back. The Rockets, meanwhile, could return Brus, Daunte Mobley and Forest Thompson – the first, second and anchor legs. Third-place Ar-We-Va wasn’t particularly close with Paton-Churdan, but it’s worth mentioning all four legs could still be in place – in order, it goes Rosener, Smith, Self and Thomas Schneider.
Sprint medley: Every single member of the top three finishers – Exira/EHK, Woodbine and Ar-We-Va – are gone and graduated. Fourth-place Boyer Valley, though, could bring back their first three legs in Puck, Jesse Soma and Malone.
Distance medley: It was a three-horse race here, although Woodbine was dominant on their way to the win. The Tigers lost all four of their legs from that race, though. Second-place Boyer Valley appears to be in good shape with the return of their second (Soma) and third (Malone) legs. Third-place Coon Rapids-Bayard led off with Obert – their only returnee from that foursome.
A LOOK AT CROSS COUNTRY SEASON
It’s worth looking at the Rolling Valley Conference cross country meet from this past October, and it’s worth keeping an eye on these names that have not been mentioned:
-Landon Bendgen, Freshman, Woodbine: He put it all together at the state qualifying meet and advanced to the state cross country meet. Throw him anywhere from 800 to 3200, and you make the Tigers even deeper.
-Trey Burgermeyer, Freshman, Woodbine: Another freshman from Woodbine, Burgermeyer placed fifth in the RVC race.
-Gavin Clayton, Sophomore CAM: Clayton pushed into the top nine of the RVC race in October.
-Patrick Heffernan, Sophomore, Boyer Valley: The Rolling Valley Conference champion, Heffernan also ran at the state cross country meet. He will likely be a huge piece of the Bulldogs mix, too.
-Treaven Hill-Borger, Sophomore, Exira/EHK: Hill-Borger was seventh at the RVC meet this past October.
-Evan Ten Eyck, Freshman, Boyer Valley: And another potential long distance runner for Boyer Valley. Ten Eyck was 10th at the RVC meet.
Those are the freshmen and sophomores among the top 10 from the RVC meet and definitely bear watching throughout the spring.
Woodbine put up a ton of points last year, and they should be able to do it again. They aren’t as deep as they were two years ago, but they also have a few more weapons they can turn to in creating more points in spots they didn’t in 2019.
Boyer Valley looks like they could be pretty good this year, too, and CAM will likely add a big scorer in Spieker, who is primed for a huge spring. That said, anything and everything I just wrote in the previous 1700 words could be completely off if any of those bold names are not out or unavailable this year. That’s just the nature of what we’re dealing with here.
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