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Track and Field: WCA looking to put seniors in state tournament and lay a foundation

WCA seniors aiming for state; program looking to build a foundation

EP Track & Field
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The coaches for the West Central Area boys and girls track and field teams are hopeful that a large group of athletes will have a chance to be rewarded for the impact they have made on the Knights’ program by season’s end.

“We’re hoping to get these seniors that have worked so hard for so many years down to state,” head coach Dave Schleicher said. “With our young team, we are also laying the foundation for a strong, well-balanced program for years to come.”

At the forefront of the returners from the girls side are Liz Rustan and Victoria Junker, who competed at the state championships a year ago in the 4x400 meter relay.

Also returning for the girls team are Kaitlyn Hansen, who has been a staple of the program in recent years, and Lexi Bright. Bright and Hansen are co-captains of the girls team this season.

Terina Blascyk and Taylor Bennett are also some returning athletes for the girls program.

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On the boys side, Tyler Stone, who competed in the section tournament in the discus throw, and Shad Swanson.

For both teams, Schleicher is excited to see what the newcomers can do.

“We have a number of athletes who are on the verge of coming into their own this season,” Schleicher said.

Schleicher said that newcomer Anthony Sykora, who just won a state title in wrestling, is going to contribute for the Knights in the sprints.

The team strengths this year are in the distance group and throwers, according to Schleicher. He also said the team expects the team’s young jumpers to improve with experience.

Schleicher said the team is light in numbers this year but can make up for it in other ways.

“We’re lighter than past years on kids, but I really feel what we lack in numbers we make up for in talent and character,” he said. “We have a great group of athletes that are hard-working and dedicated to getting better, so that makes our jobs easier. Spring sports are always tough with kids seeing the end of school in sight and [being] ready for summer. Our intentions are to build a program of consistency and fun that will attract more athletes out to compete.”

The Knights are members of the West Central Conference this year and Schleicher expects all teams in the conference to be tough to beat, with Minnewaska and Morris Area topping that list.

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2022 WEST CENTRAL AREA TRACK AND FIELD

COACHES - Head Coach - Dave Schleicher, spent 11 years as an assistant coach and was head coach of both teams in 2019; Assistant Coaches - Nate Wood, Matt Nemak, Austin Hanson

WEST CENTRAL AREA TRACK AND FIELD SCHEDULE

April 7 Minnewaska Area Meet 4 p.m.

April 12 UMM/MAHS Meet 4:15 p.m.

April 14 Lac Qui Parle Valley Meet 4 p.m.

April 21 Benson Meet 4 p.m.

April 26 Park Rapids Meet 4 p.m.

May 5 LPGE Meet 4 p.m.

May 10 Pelican Rapids Meet 10 a.m.

May 12 Benson Meet, 4 p.m.

May 17 Minnewaska Area Meet, 3:30 p.m.

May 26 Wheaton Meet, 3:30 p.m.

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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