Jeeps track returns many athletesMarch 16, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois is trying to get back into the swing of things on the track this season after missing the entire 2020 season. However, the Jeeps can take solace in having a lot of returning athletes this spring.
“I think it’s a really good thing — especially on our boys side,” Jeeps coach Leslie Denu said. “We have a big senior class (six boys, three girls) that has been a part of the track team the past four years. So, I think that will help us with the leadership because they have been part of the track environment for the past four years.”
However, Denu also noted the many underclassmen that she has this year, since no season last spring means a lot of runners are going to be new to high school track in 2021. The girls side has seven underclassmen — four sophomores and three freshmen. The boys, meanwhile, have 14 underclassmen with nine sophomores and five freshmen.
“I see the first few meets kind of being a learning experience for younger runners and throwers and jumpers because of not having a season,” she said. “So, I think to get them in the momentum of a track meet, and to actually know how to compete in their events, I think it will take a few meets. But hopefully by midseason, we’ll have a few meets under our belt, and be able to compete greatly with the local schools.”
The numbers and the returners are there on the boys side, but the Jeeps aren’t without some turnover either. Ethan Breitweiser was supposed to run mid and long distance events last year, and Ethan Fromme was supposed to be a high jumper and sprinter. The Jeeps lost both of them to graduation.
Denu will be turning to some of her junior boys to fill those spots. She noted the Jeeps are looking to Austin Breitweiser for mid distance, sprints and the long jump. She also envisions Blake Reckelhoff in the sprinter and jumping categories, while Grant Schepers has throwing experience and is expected to help the boys in that area.
“We do have some sophomores that (we’re) excited to bring in for high jump, like a Wyatt Freyberger,” she said. “He’s had experience, but is still young and still learning, but I think he has some potential to help us, and then Caleb Hughes, he’ll step in for our sprinting group as well, as a sophomore.”
The Jeep girls have a returning regional qualifier from 2019 in senior Morgan Schepers, who made it there in the pole vault. However, Schepers is also a hurdler, and Denu will look to Schepers to lead the hurdles for the girls, and junior Lexi Freyberger is also expected to play a big part as a hurdler in 2021.
Northeast Dubois graduated Shelby Livingston in 2020, and she was supposed to play a huge role as a middle distance runner. This year, the Jeeps are turning to her sophomore sister, Sara, plus fellow sophomores Jordan Schweikarth and Paige Wildman to help out in that regard.
“All three of those (are) great cross country runners, and I think they’ll be able to fill those mid distance to distance events for us,” Denu said. “And also Sabrina Dunning — she’s a junior and so she’s our leader in the distance events as far as leadership and upperclassmen go.”
Denu also mentioned the four of Sara, Schweikarth, Wildman and Dunning as those who can compete in the 4x800m relay. The sprint relays could possibly include senior Adelle Fravelle, Freyberger, fellow junior Aisha Deel and freshman Cheyenne Mroz. She expects sophomore Emma Betz to be a top thrower for the girls, and also touted the experience and the leadership that senior Kari Ann Scherzinger brings to the fold.
Denu believes some of her athletes can represent Northeast Dubois at regionals this spring. She hopes Schepers can return to regionals this year, and the Jeeps are returning a senior boys regional qualifier, Dante Miller, in the 110 hurdles. Denu envisions that some of Miller’s fellow seniors, Carter Beckman and Eli Lueken, could also get there.
Beckman is another hurdler, and he competes with Lueken as a sprinter, too. Beckman, Lueken and Miller could all compete in the spring relays this spring, and she threw out Breitweiser and Reckelhoff as other potential relay names
The number of boys returning means a higher bar this year. Denu told the Herald last year that it’s always the goal for both teams to finish in the top four at sectional, but she’s aiming for her boys to get top three at the 2021 sectional. She thinks it’s doable because the senior class has been showing good leadership. Denu said the goal for the girls is still top four, given that’s a small team with 16 girls altogether.
Northeast Dubois is scheduled on April 6 to welcome Loogootee, Springs Valley and Crawford County.
“We are ready for track season,” Denu said. “We are eager for it to start, that’s for sure.”
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