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Boys track boasts senior-laden roster
BV girls small in numbers
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

April 02. 2013 9:47AM
A second place state finish for the Lynx boys may be a tall order this season, but repeating as the Eastern South Dakota Conference champs may not be out of the order, according to head coach Troy Sturgeon.

“We’re going to be relatively competitive in the ESD and could compete again for another title,” the coach predicts. “But it won’t be like last year – the dream season – when the galaxies just aligned.”

While the Lynx boys are poised to make some noise in the ESD, the Lady Lynx roster, which features just 45 athletes, aren’t positioned quite as well.

“We’re going to be in the middle of the pack (of ESD) because we just don’t have that depth that we do with the boys,” he said. “With 45 girls out, it will be tough to compete as a team but the girls that we have, they are going to be extremely competitive.”

Sturgeon said the Lynx girls will be especially strong in the pole vault, jumping and weight events. “But we’re going to have to pick and choose what we can compete in,” he said.

Lynx boys
Graduating one of its most track-gifted classes last spring, Coach Sturgeon had early concerns on how to fill that void, but after watching the team at last week’s Bob Prince Early Bird Invite, those concerns were quickly erased.

“We have some kids that are ready to step up, kids that can compete extremely well,” he said.

The Lynx boys once again boast a senior-laden roster that will get some significant contributions from the junior class as well.

The Lynx will count on points from senior Matt VandeBerg, Class AA’s defending long and triple jump champion. VandeBerg is also expected to join the cast of high jumpers and will run the open 100, 200 and sprint relays.

“Matt is an extremely talented young man with great ability in the long and triple jumps,” Sturgeon said. “And we knew he had speed and last year so we tapped into it.”
One of the most focused athletes on the roster this season is sprinter Cam Holmes.

“He had goals in middle school of being a state champion and breaking school records, wanting to be the best,” Sturgeon recalls.

And the Lynx junior is on course to do just that. “The day after the football season was over, he was in the weight room getting ready for track,” Sturgeon said. “He just loves to run and it’s showing.”

Holmes, who’s ranked in the top three or four in the state, will be a threat in both the 200 and 400, and could make some noise in the 100 as well. Sturgeon also wants to find one other event the Lynx junior could shine in, and looks to the relays for that opportunity.

“Cam is another one like Matt, that we’ll try to get as many points out of as possible,” he said.

A pair of seniors – Alex Oddy and Trey Etrheim – will be looked to score points for the team in the pole vault and hurdles, respectively.

“Alex really came on a lot since last year and at Bob Prince added a foot to his personal best,” Sturgeon noted. “The same thing for Trey, too. He really wants to do well in the hurdles and will contribute in some relays.”

Sturgeon also cited Jacob Nachreiner, freshman Cole Christensen, a transfer from Mitchell, along with sprinter Ryan Immeker (100, 200 and relays). Seniors Luke Hyronimus and Adam Guthmiller, and junior AJ Garrow will be utilized in individual and relay sprint races, while distance events will be led by senior Zach VanEde (1600 and 3200) and Dillon Waldera (800 and 1600).

Losing state discus champion Clay Guinn to graduation, the Lynx boys will count on Adam Kirkus, Sean Rollag, Erik Ode and Joe Sandoval in the weight events.

“This is one of those years that we have kids who will be able to place,” Sturgeon said.
Washington and Roosevelt, along with West River teams Rapid City Central and Stevens, are positioned to do well. “Roosevelt is loaded all the way across the board,” Sturgeon said, “and the Rapid teams, we’re always looking to see what they’re doing. They’re going to be good, as they always seem to be.”

In the ESD, Watertown has Sturgeon’s attention this year, and he said the Arrows are set up to win not only a league title but could battle for a state championship as well. He also gives a nod to Yankton, Brookings and Aberdeen Central.

But don’t count the Lynx out of the running in the ESD, the coach reminds.

“We’re finally in a place where we have the program built so that we can think this way,” Sturgeon said. “Now, we’re looking at filling every event and scoring as a team.”

Lady Lynx
A 45-member roster will likely keep the Lady Lynx out of contention for ESD and state titles, but the team boasts some quality athletes that could find a place on the awards stand later this spring.

One of those athletes is junior Kaija Nitz, who was hampered by injury last year. Now healthy and ready to run, Nitz is ranked as one of the top four or five Class AA distance runners.

“Like Cam, she’s very focused on her goals and really wants to achieve them,” Sturgeon said.

The Lynx should also garner points from senior thrower Allison Koehn, a three-time discus and two-time shot put ESD champ.

“She’s one of those rare kids that comes along and competes at a consistent level,” Sturgeon said.

Koehn will be tested this season by Washington’s Cera Ledbetter.

“It just comes down to the day between those two,” Sturgeon said.

Sister pole vaulters Hailey and Hannah Murray are expected to generate points for the Lady Lynx in that event, while senior Courtney Herrick, whose competed in the shadows of Washington standout Kari Heck in the long and triple jumps, could rise to the top in those events this season.

“This could be Courtney’s year,” Sturgeon said, adding she could go head to head with Brookings’ Brianna Gannon.

Herrick will also run the 100 and 200 for the Lady Lynx.

Some underclassman, freshman Cortney Bickley (200 and 400), seventh grader Haylee Waterfall (400 and 1600) and Sarah Presler (distance races), and eighth graders Emma Terveer and Becca Koehn will also be relied on to generate team points at the ESD and state meets.

“We just don’t have the depth in the girl’s program that the boys have,” Sturgeon said, “so we’re going to have to pick and choose what we can be competitive in.”

Brandon Valley hosts three meets this season: the Lynx Invite, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6, the Last Chance Meet on May 16 and the opening day of the state meet on May 24.
Lynx 2013 Track Schedule
April 6 – Lynx Invite – 10:30 a.m.
April 9 – at Yankton – 4 p.m.
April 16 – at Yankton – 4 p.m.
April 19 – at Pierre Relays – 1 p.m.
April 25 – at Yankton Invite – 4 p.m.
April 27 – at Brookings Invite – 10 a.m.
May 3-4 – at Howard Wood Relays – 3 & 8 p.m.
May 11 – ESD at Aberdeen – 11:30 a.m.
May 16 – Last Chance Meet – 4 p.m.
May 24-25 – State at Brandon, Sioux Falls – 10:30 & 9 a.m.

Brandon Valley senior Matthew VandeBerg snared state titles in both the triple and long jumps at the 2012 Class AA State Meet. He's poised to repeat the feat this season as well. Challenger file photo

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