Boone Central Coach Susan Roberts, entering her fourth season directing the Cardinal track and field program, is optimistic heading into the 2023 spring season.
As well she should be.
Boone returns strong numbers of varsity letterwinners this season, has experienced athletes to lead their respective squads, and obviously posseses talent with 11 who have previously qualified for the Nebraska State Championships. That group includes a 2022 Nebraska state All-Class Gold Medalist.
So, Roberts is anxious to see fair weather arrive and to begin the new campaign. She has particularly high expectations for the Cardinal boys.
“I’m excited for this upcoming season. We return one All-Class Champion – Jack Roberts – and four other Class B state placewinners to anchor a large group of returning letterwinners,” Roberts said. “We will be strong in several areas, particularly the hurdles, jumps, sprints and 800 meters. We had a good number of kids end last season strong, and we’re hopeful to get some good points consistently in other areas as well, such as the throws and the distance events. Three boys qualified for state cross country.”
Roberts will be the Boone headliner after setting a school record and winning the All-Class Gold in the 300 meter hurdles in 2022. The senior standout, who has signed a letter of intent to compete in track and field at South Dakota State next year, also placed second in the Class B state 110 meter high hurdles, ran on the Cardinals’ 5th place 4×400 meter relay and qualified in the long jump.
Other Cards with state championship experience returning in 2023 include seniors Alex Christo (8th in 800 meters, 5th in 4×400) and Ryan Drueppel (800 qualifier), and juniors Parker Borer (5th in 4×400, 100 and 200 qualifier), Jaxon Lipker (6th in high jump), Brant Benes (5th in 4×400) and James Fogleman (triple jump qualifier). Along with their state events, Lipker should be a point producer in the hurdles and Benes will contend in the sprints and hurdles.
Additional Cardinal letterwinners on this year’s squad are seniors Aiden Nore (pole vault), Kevin Haase (sprints) and Jake Daniels (sprints); junior Trent Patzel (throws), and sophomores Zander Jarecki (distance – state XC qualifier), Logan Spence (distance – state XC qualifier), Thomas Roberts (400, throws) and Jaden Hagemann (400, 800).
Last season was considered something of a “down year” for the Boone Central Lady Cardinals track and field team. Roberts and her charges don’t expect to repeat that in 2023.
Boone will have a young squad overall, built around 13 returning letterwinners, but has quality (four past state championship competitors) to lead and intriguing potential to boost fortunes this spring.
“Last season left us wanting with our girls program. We failed to qualify anyone for state, which has not happened very often in the history of our program,” Roberts acknowledged. “We have several returning letterwinners and 2021 state qualifiers who are looking to make that right this season.
“Those qualifiers, Ashlyn Krohn, Mara Ranslem and Ava Buhlmann, will be the core of that change, as well as Ava Duerksen, who missed 2022 with a knee injury. We’re also looking to see continued improvement from our underclassmen, who made steady improvements over last season, as well as welcoming some newcomers who could make an impact on our team right away, both on the track and in the field events.
“So, we have a relatively young team wanting to turn things around and be more competitive again this season.
“I think they are up to the challenge.”
The returning 2021 Boone Central state championship qualifiers are seniors Ashlyn Krohn (200, 4×100) and Mara Ranslem (4×100), and juniors Ava Buhlmann (300 hurdles) and Ava Duerksen (100, 200, 400). Buhlmann barely missed qualifying in the 100 meter high hurdles as an extra qualifier with a 6th place district finish, and Krohn and Ranslem will vie for additional points in other events.
Joining that quartet are nine returning letterwinners – juniors Claire Primrose (long jump, sprints), Natalie Schrad (jumps, hurdles), Elle Webster (pole vault), Christyan Anderson (400, triple jump) and Cassidy Maricle (throws), and sophomores Payton Sullivan (throws), Madison Gompert (pole vault, sprints), KayLee Miller (sprints) and Averie Krohn (hurdles).
Roberts says newcomers to watch in 2023 include freshmen Ciara Baker (long jump, sprints), Kali Simons (400, 800) and Kassidy Beister (distance, 2022 state XC qualifier).
Further details and schedules in Print & Online editions of Albion News/Boone County Tribune