Marine track and field is in vogue
Sunday, April 13, 2014 7:00 PM
MARINETTE - Two straight seasons with state champions is the best recruiting tool of all for the Marinette Marine track and field program.
Small wonder why numbers are up for Marine track this spring.
"It's exciting to generate more interest," Marinette coach Bob Caelwaerts said. "I don't think it's a coincidence."
The program produced state champions in the pole vault (Preston Perkins in 2012), discus (Dustin Valind, 2013), and boys' 400 relay last season. While none of those performers are back, the coaches have about 65 performers - a lot more than in recent years - to choose from than in recent years.
"By the time it's all said and done, we're gonna have a Marinette kid in every event," Caelwaerts said. "We don't quite have an army yet, but things are looking up as far as numbers and interest."
The girls' team returns four seniors - Olivia Alloy, Courtney Hoffman, Kathy Smith and Allie Saxton.
Alloy is a quality hurdler and jumper, and sophomore Lynsee Bohan is a standout sprinter and jumper. Both have cleared 5 feet in the high jump. But the strength of the Marine girls team is the shot put and discus. Juniors Emily Conley, Liz Lang and Megan Wagner, and freshman Morgan Florek give the coaches a good problem to have. Some of the bigger meets limit the number of entries by each team, so the Marines will have to leave kids out who would start for other teams.
"They all compete every day in practice. It's just going to make them that much better," Caelwaerts said.
On Thursday, Florek nearly reached 39 feet in her first outdoors shot put event.
Junior Abby O'Neil is a 32-foot triple jumper. Bohan, O'Neil, Hoffman and junior Natalie Whitfield form Marinette's first girls' 400 relay in several seasons.
The Marines have three girl pole vaulters - sophomore Summer Rose and freshmen Deanna Saunier and Makayla Bell.
Smith is the mentor to a group of younger distance runners.
Other juniors include Arian Zuraski, Allison Koerner, Brandy Valitchka, Morgan Sislo, Breona Wash and Abby Kempka.
Sophomore Margaret Michealis off to a great start in the 800-meter run and the 1,600 this spring.
Other sophomores are Savannah Prucha and Lexi Bretl.
Other freshmen are Mya Boucher, Krista Argall, Kaitlyn Thill, Kaytlyn Schulte, Jubilee Lukowski, Hannah McVane, Sandra O'Connor, Kaylee Kriedeman, Jillian Hoffman, Dyllan Finger and Rachel Hoppe.
The Marine boys have good numbers of underclassmen, so the future looks bright. Senior Austin Mahlik, who can run a sub-five-minute mile, is one of the team's top standouts. Mahlik is Marinette's best distance runner in years.
Other seniors include Brandon Miller, Hunter Petraski, Zach DeLong and Rajah Richards.
Among the juniors are throwers Peyton Boyce, Alec Greenlund and Jake Drees; Jordan Piontkowski and Nick Carrier; and distance runner Erik Breuer.
Sophomore Brendon DeMille is a promising young thrower. Along with Greenlund and Boyce, the Marines have some shot putters capable of going past 40 feet.
Freshman Nathan Paris has potential to excel in the jumps. Another frosh, Casey Sabowski, is the first high hurdler in Caelwaerts' seven years of coaching Marine track.
"He's looking like he's got a tremendous amount of potential and upside," Caelwaerts said.
The other sophomores are Jake Leow, Alex Michalski, Brad Mech, Josh Hitt, Chris Wellner, Thomas Weirich and Austin Paris.
Other freshmen include Hunter Kuffel, Jason McClurg, Max Drees, Aaron Borchardt, Eddie Paulsen, Tyler Teske, Randy Allgeyer, Noah Brown, Johnny Price and Travis Baptist.
Caelwaerts likes the potential of the boys' team, but knows you don't win a lot of meets primarily with freshmen and sophomores.
"You never really know how things are gonna pan out by the time May rolls around," he said. "It's too early to tell right now."
Jessica Scheer coaches Marinette's distance runners. John Sitek coaches the Marine throwers, Caelwaerts coaches hurdlers and high jumpers, and Bryan Lenzer coaches relays and jumpers. Luke Maulding coaches sprinters and pole vaulters.