The numbers on the Grand Island Central Catholic track and field teams won’t be the greatest.
The Crusaders have about 20 boys and 13 girls on the roster this season.
GICC coach Keith Kester said the low numbers will hurt at meets, but that doesn’t mean the Crusaders won’t have quality individuals. They do return eight total state qualifiers (four boys, four girls) from last year.
“We have quality individuals with a number of state qualifiers returning but we just don’t have a lot of depth,” Kester said. “Maybe in the big meets, we have a chance to do well with the individuals that we have. But the kids are working hard and I like what I’ve seen.”
Riley Shoemaker (300 hurdles, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay), Derrick Broekemier (1,600 relay, 3,200 relay), Michael McGowan (1,600 relay, 3,200 relay) and Zach Brittian (shot put, discus) are the returning state qualifiers for the Crusaders. Shoemaker, Broekemier and McGowan helped the 3,200 relay take third and 1,600 relay finish seventh at state, while Brittian took eighth in the discus.
Kester said others to watch include Kellon Johnson (jumps), Kaleb Puncachor (distance), Jack Tynan (sprints), Joseph O’Connor (distance), Ryan Liske (throws) Dylan Nordhues (jumps), Joe Krajicek (jumps) and Jeremy Scarrow (throws).
“I think those kids are capable of scoring points for us this season,” Kester said.
Alli Masat (1,600, 3,200), Emma Benton (shot put), Kelsie Scheel (discus) and Allison Ostdiek (long jump) are the returning state qualifiers for the girls.
Kester said he sees them, along with a number of other individuals like Joanna Rainforth (distance), Samantha Moravec (jumps and sprints), Meghan Krajicek (throws) and Favila Seiler (jumps) will be others to watch, as well as freshmen Megan Wardyn (jumps and relays) and Emily Herbek (hurdles and jumps).
“We don’t have a lot of depth on the girls but I think we have good individuals that will do well for us this year,” Kester said. “Plus, I think we have some freshmen girls as well that will be nice additions to our team.”
Kester said the goals remain the same for both teams.
“The goal is to get better as a team and individually as the year progresses and peak at districts,” Kester said. “I want our kids to achieve what they are capable of achieving. I think when district and state time come, we can do some good things.”
The Crusaders will get the season started at Concordia University Invite at 3 p.m. Friday in Seward.
March—15, Concordia University Invite (Seward); 21, at Loup City Relays; 28, GICC-Knights of Columbus Invite;
April—6, at Aurora Invitational; 12, at Minden Invitational; 18, at Northwest Invitational; 22, Central Nebraska Track and Field Championships; 26, at Ord Invite;
May—4, Centennial Conference Tournament at Columbus Scotus; 9, Districts at Ord.