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Alex boys' track preview: Cards have plenty of new faces

Senior Mitch Peck returns as a senior with some high expectations after making the state meet in the 300-meter hurdles as a junior. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria boys’ track and field team will have to replace some talented athletes with a mix of newcomers and 13 returning letter winners this spring.

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The Cardinals lost 11 seniors, including Zac Bartolomeo (800), James Holmquist (4x100), Nathan Huss (4x100) and Donovan Chock (4x100), who all competed in the state meet last season.

Senior Colin Guetter is one of the returning athletes with the experience of a state meet after taking eighth in the discus in 2013. Fellow senior Mitch Peck was voted the team’s most valuable sprinter/hurdler last season and is also back after state appearances in the 4x100 relay and the 300 hurdles.

“We have great experience returning in the distance and throws with great senior presence in the throwing events,” head coach Mike Empting said. “I think we will be very strong in the throws with seniors Aaron Steidl and Logan Steidl anchoring with Mitchell Maday upcoming. Colin Guetter is looking to return to the state meet in the discus and Brett Ludwig will always be in contention at every meet.”

Seniors Trent Piepenburg and Austin Thom are back to help lead the way in the distance runs. Juniors Jesse Groettum, Brandon Jerde, Jimmy Pfeffer, Aaron Runge and Colton Sailor will also provide depth in those distance events.

“We have several distance runners returning and coming off of a successful cross country season that should shore up a competitive distance group,” Empting said. “Mitchell Peck is returning in the hurdles and jumps to provide leadership and experience from his state-qualifying season last year. We will be most youthful in the sprints and jumps, but have outstanding young athletes in those positions that will improve as the season progresses.”

The Cardinals also have a group of newcomers to the program that could add depth. Junior Joe Gorghuber (hurdles/jumps) is back in track and field after taking last season off. Seniors Elliot Jacobson (sprints/jumps) and John Vogeler (sprints/jumps) are in their first season in the sport, while sophomore Jude Pelowski will help in the hurdles as a new student in Alexandria.

“We also have many new faces that could potentially be point getters for us and younger athletes that were middle of the pack last season that are looking to move up in places this season.”

Empting sees Sartell, Brainerd and Willmar as the teams to beat in the Central Lakes Conference. Moorhead will join Sartell and Brainerd as the top contenders come the Section 8AA meet.


SENIORS – Colin Guetter, Elliot Jacobson, LaZeric Johnson, Brett Ludwig, Mitch Peck, Trent Piepenburg, Herbert Robinson, Aaron Steidl, Logan Steidl, Michael Tallifer, Austin Thom, Ben Tollefson, John Vogeler

JUNIORS – David Anderson, Connor Barth, Paul Boettner, Carl Branch, Eric Branch, Chase Childers, Joe Gorghuber, Wesley Graves, Jesse Groettum, Brandon Jerde, Dylan Kriese, John Kumorowicz, Mitchell Maday, Jimmy Pfeffer, Mitch Roers, Aaron Runge, Colton Sailor, Colton Schoep, Alec Wosepka

SOPHOMORES – Casey Call, Nicholas Dee, Austin Fox, Lucas Houska, Andrew Johnson, Dylan Larson, Ryan Moorman, Jude Pelowski, Matt Roers, Peter Rohr, Grant Rudolph, Alex Schmidt, Jacob Vukelich, Jake Wheeler, Tom Whiting, Mitchell Meier

FRESHMEN – Preston Buechler, Cole Burkle, Mason Covel, Kalin Hacker, Spencer Hockert, Austin Hohler, Kyle Krippner, Sam Kuennen, Keaton Kvale, Ryan Maier, Hunter Melton, Joshua Molden, Daniel Oberg, Luke Paschka, Jaran Roste, Zachary Serie, Mac Somerville, Trevor Strandskov, Matthew Wissler, Brady Wolkow

COACHES – Head coach – Mike Empting – 17th year at school, second as boys head coach; Assistant coaches – Meghan Orgeman Crumb, high jump; Mark Nelsen, distance; Ty Granning, throws; Travis Hocchalter, hurdles; Jerry Amundson, pole vault

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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