Irene/Wakonda Eagle track team season underway

Irene/Wakonda Eagle track team season underway
It's that time of year again for spring, so put your high tops away and bring out the spikes. This is the first year for the Irene-Wakonda Eagle track team. Practice began Monday, March 6.

The team has 26 high school boys, 18 junior high boys and 26 girls in grades seven through 12 participating in the 2006 track season. Brent Mutchelknaus of Irene, is the head coach for girls and is also coaching pole vaulters, high jumpers, and the 400-800 meter runners. This is his 23rd year of coaching track.

Larry Wynia of Wakonda, is boys' head coach and will be working with sprinters, hurdlers, long and triple jumpers. Wynia has coached track and field for 12 years including schools at Springfield, Vermillion, and Wakonda. Bridget Sees, Landra Knodel, and Corey Lambley are all assistant coaches for the Eagles.


Eagles returning letter winners are: seniors Rob Gregoire, Eric Hansen, Derrick Pearson, Clint Schroeder, Jared Viergutz, Mandy Hauger, Liz McManus, Denise Livingston, Christine Healy; juniors Robert Hauger, Brock Mutchelknaus, Josh Wuestelwald, Amanda Burfeindt, Jessie Rudd, Emily Mormon, Shawna Knutson, Kim Jensen; sophomores Eric Anderson, Skyler Bender, Jason Burfeindt, Matthew Davis, Brian Donahue, Henry Hauger, Jordan Mayer, Josh Nielsen, Kerstin Roesler, Holly Barkley, Bridget Healy, Katie Sokolowski; freshman Nicole Nielson; eighth grade Casey Hessman.

"I think that combining the two schools in track has created some exciting possibilities," Mutchelknaus said. "As a coach I am looking forward to the Eagles doing well in the Tri-Valley Conference track meet, and being competitive in all of the meets that we participate in. The state track meet will be held in Rapid City this spring, and it would be great to qualify several Eagle athletes."

"I'm really excited about working with the Irene/Wakonda Eagles," Wynia said. "We have 26 young men out for track and we will be a very competitive team. We move up to Class A and the competition will be tougher, but this will make us a better team."

Coach Mutchelknaus went on to summarize the teams' strengths and weaknesses.

"Field events will be a strength for our squad," he said. "Christine Healy, Bridget Healy, and Mandy Hauger placed very well in the shot put and discus events. In pole vault Kim Jensen usually places in the top three in most meets. Katie Sokolowski was one of the top high jumpers in the area. Jessie Rudd placed in several meets in the long jump event, and Shawna Knutson had a lot of success in the triple jump.

"A weakness will be a top team in the area; we will need to get more points on the track," Mutchelknaus continued. "This will be a major emphasis for us."

Some strengths that Wynia sees are middle and long distance runners, pole vaulters, weight crew, long and triple jumpers and relays. One weakness the team has, he said, is the lack of hurdlers and high jumpers.

The coaches noted that it will be a challenge for the team to be competitive against the class "A" schools in team placings. However, Mutchelknaus feels that the Eagles will compete with a lot of desire and do well. Wynia said that "with hard work, we will be competitive. The competition will make us better athletes."

"The athletes are working very hard on the pre-season and enthusiasm is high," he continued. "It will be a fun season for the Eagles. We will be able to fill all events with the expectation of the hurdles and high jump. They both also look forward to seeing the seniors as leaders for this season."

The Eagles' first track meet was March 30 in Centerville.

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