Thomas Konemaru takes the lead in sprinting practice at the Mt. Zion Fieldhouse.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion track and field program aims to have another year of reaching the IHSA State Tournament. Both teams had athletes make it to the State Tournament last year and the girls finished fourth in the tournament.
On the girls side, the Braves return veteran athletes in different events. In the high jump, the Braves return seniors Hannah Sago and Rhiannon Marshall. Sago finished her season last year in Sectionals, but her individual goal is to make it to the State tournament this year.
Marshall finished in fifth place last year in the state tournament with a jump of 1.58 meters. Marshall’s goal this year is to get back to the State tournament and finish in the top-three places in high jump.
In the triple jump, the Braves return senior Katie Janvrin. Janvrin went to the state tournament last year and finished in 16th place with a jump of 10.09 meters. Janvrin’s goal is to make it back to the state tournament this year.
In pole vault, the Braves return Raleigh Allen. Allen didn’t compete in the state tournament last year, but her goal is to win this year.
In distance running, the Braves return seniors Ashleigh Anderson and Emma Mallory. Anderson didn’t place individually in the state tournament last year, but was ok the 4×800 team that finished in eight place at the state tournament with a time of nine minutes and 58 seconds.
For Mallory, her goal is to bring down her two-mile time from her personal record of 12 minutes and 77 seconds and qualify for state.
This year the Braves will have an indoor season. Head girls track and field coach Kelly Fox said her and her team are excited to have a full season.
“We have talent on this team and they are ready to compete,” Coach Fox said. “They want to show what they’ve been working on the last year.”
Coach Fox and her team’s goal for the season is to qualify as many athletes for the state tournament and finish within the top-10 as teams in the tournament. Coach Fox’s overall message she wanted to send to readers and the community is to come out and support this team.
“If you’ve never experienced an indoor meet in our facility come out,” Coach Fox said.
There are four home indoor meets for the Braves and they are yesterday, March 2, March 12, March 17.
On the boys side, the Braves return senior sprinter Christian Keyhea. Keyhea finished second in the state tournament last year in the 100 meter with a time of 10.91 seconds.
The Braves also return senior Sam Atkinson. Atkinson finished in sixth place at the state tournament in the 800 meters with a time of 1 minute and 58 seconds. Atkinson’s goal this year is to crack the top-3 at the state tournament.
In pole vault, the Braves return junior Kyle Hensley. Hensley finished fifth in the state tournament last year with a 4.53 meter jump. This year he wants to make it back to the state tournament and finish in first or second place.
The boys team is expecting a state appearance from sophomore Julian Baker. Baker will compete in the two-mile run, 400 meters and 800 meters.
“It’s good knowing that this is a thought even besides myself,” Baker said. So it gives me a more clear goal for me and I’m not the only one that thinks I can do good things.”
Senior Kemper Koslofski hopes to make it to the state tournament in the 100 meter.
The Braves finished in 14th place last spring at the state tournament and have a new head coach. Joe Fritzsche takes over as the new boys head track and field coach. Fritzsche ran for Mt. Zion in high school and has spent the past few years as an assistant.
“My goal is to hopefully build a full team,” Coach Fritzsche said. “A team where we can have a guy in each event scoring us points, and hopefully, you know, doing some damage at the meets that we go to.”
Coach Fritzsche and his team want as many individuals to qualify for the state tournament, but also want to crack the top-10 when as a team placement wise.
Coach Fritzsche’s overall message he wanted to send to readers and the community is to come out and support this team.
“We’ve got a lot of talent for our small team and we have a lot of character on this team,” Coach Fritzsche said. “That’s what I’m most excited about. We have a lot of good kids that work hard in the classroom and in athletics.”
The Mt. Zion boys track and field program will compete this week in two home meets.