With loads of experience coming back for the Henry-Midland boys and girls track and field teams, expectations are high for the Mallards in 2020 for the Tri-County Conference and beyond.
On the boys side, the Mallards have 18 athletes out for the 2020 season with 10 of those returning from a season ago.
“We have a good mix this season with several seniors and four or five from Midland,” Mallards coach Ruark Crowley said. “Then we have about five freshmen out as well so things are looking pretty good.”
Trenten Nevitt is the top returner for the Mallards as the team’s sprinter. Edvin Ramadani is another senior who will be a force for the Mallards at triple jump as well as other events.
Thrower Caeden Jullerat just missed state last year, placing third at the sectional, and Crawley feels he is ready to take the next step and make the leap to state.
“Caeden has been launching some shots in practice so far,” Crawley said before the school shutdown due to the coronavirus. “I think he has picked up right where he left off last year.”
Dalton Lester is another thrower and Jayce Keedy is a sophomore distance runner from Midland who will be a key figure for the Mallards.
Isaac Major, Luke Beach, Hunter Green and Jake Toman are the sprinters who will lead the way for the Mallards.
“We are going to be pretty tough with runners and in the weight events,” Crowley said. “We have multiple guys in several of those events who could be a major player for us. Luke and Isaac are guys who could really surprise some people this year with their speed. They have looked really good so far. I think Seneca should be at the top of conference, but I think that we can be right there behind them and maybe get some guys to state.”
On the girls side, the Lady Mallards welcome 16 to the team with 13 of those returning from 2019.
Nakeita Kessling leads the Lady Mallards after placing seventh in the long jump as a freshman at the Class 1A state meet last spring.
Her sister, Nadia Kessling, went to state last year as well in the high jump.
In the distance events, Madison Oltman has come into the spring looking like she wants to join the possible runs to state for the Lady Mallards.
“I have seen a side of Madison that I have not seen before,” Crawley said. “She looks hungry and ready to get after the 3,200-meter event.”
Henry has some very talented freshmen as well. Laney Lester won state in the shot put as an eighth grader and took third in the discus.
Mikayla Frawley and Talur Homann are two more freshmen who will be making some noise with the Kessling sisters in the 400 relay.
“Nakeita also made it to state last year in the 100 and 200,” Crawley said. “Mikayla and Talur will fit in just nicely with the Kessling sisters and really want to make a push to state in the relay. The four of them are pretty fast, so we’ll see what happens.”
Kylie Lequia is the top senior who returns and owns the school record in the discus set last season, so the Lady Mallards have two quality throwers Crawley feels can make state.
“We have some pretty big goals for the girls as a team,” Crawley said. “Not just competing with the likes of Seneca for a conference title, but we think we could get the team to state or anywhere from 6-8 girls to state. It’ll be tough, but these girls are working hard, so we’ll see what the seasons holds.”
Riley Reuter is another distance runner who will strengthen the depth of Mallards and increase their chances of success in 2020. Frawley will take care of the mid-distance races.
Brad Martin Sr. can be reached at 220-6939 or email@example.com.