NewsTribune boys track and field preview: 5 to watch

Princeton's Cade Odell throws shot put during the Class 2A track sectional meet on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at Geneseo High School.

With the outdoor track and field season just starting, here are five NewsTribune athletes to keep an eye on this spring.

Sebastian Carlos, so., Mendota

Carlos, a former IESA champion in the 400 meters, had a strong debut season last spring. He recorded six wins in the 400, ran a personal best of 51.74 seconds - which is just off the Class 2A state qualifying standard of 51.55 seconds - and placed fifth at the Geneseo Sectional. Carlos is off to a strong start this season. He placed 11th in the 400 at the Prep Top Times Meet, which is the unofficial indoor state meet, and ran a 52.7 in his first outdoor race.

Griffin Hammers, so., La Salle-Peru

Hammers had a strong indoor season, running a 2:03.61 in the 800 meters, which is less than a second off from where he ended last season. He’s less than two seconds off the state-qualifying standard in Class 2A. Last spring, he cut 13 seconds off his 800 time from the start of the season to the sectional. While he’s unlikely to repeat that, if he steadily improves throughout the season again, he’ll be in the mix for a state berth.

Bureau Valley's Landon Hulsing throws the discus in Friday's Three Rivers Meet.

Landon Hulsing, jr., Bureau Valley

At the Class 1A Rockridge Sectional last season, Hulsing placed fourth in the high jump by clearing a then-personal best 1.7 meters. He’s shown huge improvement already this season as he cleared 1.83 during the indoor season - the outdoor qualifying standard is 1.85 - and cleared 1.78 meters to place 10th at the Prep Top Times Meet. Hulsing is a versatile athlete who in his career has also competed in discus, shot put, triple jump, pole vault, 200-meter dash, 400, 300 hurdles and the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 relays.

Caleb Krischel, jr., Fieldcrest

Krischel had a strong season as a sophomore in the 1,600 meters and was a sectional qualifier in cross country in the fall. Last year, he qualified for state by running a personal best 4:38.75 at the Class 1A El Paso Sectional, which beat the state qualifying standard of 4:39.54.

Princeton throwers

Not an individual to keep an eye on, but a group. The Tigers sent four throwers to the Class 2A state meet last season in Payne Miller, Ian Morris, Cade Odell and Bennett Williams. Miller placed fifth at state in the shot put, while Williams took sixth in the discus. Odell and Miller placed seventh and ninth, respectively, in the shot at the Prep Top Times Meet. Morris and Miller went one-two in the discus and shot in the outdoor opener. Williams injured his knee in football and his availability is up in the air.