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WCA track and field relies on seniors

The West Central Area boys’ and girls’ track and field teams will lean on a group of 10 experienced seniors to lead them this season.

Brady Combs, Kylee Fernholz, Genevie Haroldson, Dakotah Kashmark, Jared Oachs, Dan Schack, Tyler Schill, Alex Toms, Holly Van Kempen and Shaelyn Westergard are the seniors the Knights will rely on this season.

“We’ll be leaning on these seniors throughout the season, but they have so far proven they will be able to handle it,” head coach John Van Kempen said.

Out of those seniors, Schack, Fernholz, Toms and Schill have previously competed at the state meet. Junior Bryce Paulson and sophomore Abby Van Kempen have also made trips to the state meet prior to this season.

The Knights hope to repeat the same success both teams had last year. In that season the boys team finished first in the Prairie Conference while the girls placed third.

“We’ve lost some kids through graduation so we will need our underclassmen to step up and fill in the events for us when needed,” Van Kempen said. “That will get sorted out as we progress through the meets.”

The upcoming warmer weather should be well received by track and field teams. The late-arriving spring has forced them to stay inside through most of the first three weeks of practice.

“There are events in track and field that are difficult to replicate inside a gym, such as the discus,” Van Kempen said. “We’ve mostly just been keeping practices very generic and not focusing on one event for the kids up to this point.”

Long Prairie/Grey Eagle and Browerville are expected to be top contenders for the boys’ team this season in the Prairie Conference, while Osakis is expected to be competitive for the girls.

The Knights were scheduled to begin the season on April 8 with a track meet in Morris.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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