2017 NUIC Boys and Girls Track Preview
By Al Zipsie
Polo/Forreston will be looking for their fourth straight NUIC track title. The co-op is loaded with talent.
No athlete returning won a state medal last year. They all had better marks at the Sectional.
This season, however, should be a different story.
Looking to place are Polo/Forreston's AJ Christensen, a junior in the 110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles, and Mason Wright in the triple jump; and Rahveon Valentine, a Lena-Winslow a junior, in the sprints.
Pecatonica/Durand's Grant Manson a senior finished 25th in the 3200 meters. His state time of 10:21 was a 25 second drop from his Sectional winning time of 9:56.
Two legs of the state qualifying Polo/Forreston 400 meter relay return in Christensen and Gavin Fuchs.
Lena-Winslow also made State in the 400 relay.
A trio of underclassmen to the team in 2017 in Valentine, the NUIC Conference MVP, along with Gaige Schwartz and Bailey Litow. Freshman Ronnel Valentine
could fill out the quartet.
Others hoping to make an impact for Lena-Winslow are Kade Lobdell, who won both the 1600 and 3200 at the Conference meet last season; Bobby Brown in the long jump and freshman Isaiah Bruce in sprints/throws.
Christian Sutter who will defend his high jump Conference title.
Among the top competitors for Polo/Forreston are Brady Webb (long jump), Reid Taylor (triple jump/sprints) Matthew Cheeseman (middle distance), Christian Grownwolf (high jump), Garret Batetscher and Steve Christensen (throws).
Pec/Durand lost a lot from a solid team last year, but they do have Munson in the distance events and Max Sager (middle distance) and Nathan Koch (shot put).
Dakota has Ryan Miller and Brian Welling in the hurdles.
West Carroll will feature Daniel Hartman in the sprints and triple jump. For East Dubuque/Galena/River Ridge, they have Marcelo Diaz in the sprints and Hunter Holland in the 300 hurdles and long jump.
Pearl City will feature Seth Palmer in middle distance and triple jump.
The NUIC Conference meet for both the boys and girls is May 4 at Dakota.
The NUIC hopes to have a few athletes medal at the State meet and have a chance to even be at the top of the podium.
Returning from placing at State last year are Carmen DeVries, a junior from Lena-Winslow, in the 400 meters and long jump; Rebecca Waite, a junior from Milledgeville, in the 100-meter and 200-meter; and Emily Offenhesier of Stockton in shot put and discus.
Dakota's 3200-meter relay team finished sixth and set a school record 9:57.49. All four return in Hannah Ryan, Ellie Packer, Peyton Hanson and Miranda Goeke.
DeVries qualified for State both as a freshman and in three events as a sophomore. She also holds the school record in the triple jump with a leap of 34'6 1/2.
Others who qualified for State and are back hoping to make the finals are Dakota's Goeke in the 800, Ryan in the 400 and Packer in the pole vault.
Waite advanced to State in four events for Milledgeville/Eastland. That team also included Grace Norton and Sage Walrath.
Other top competitors in the conference include Erin Hosto of Amboy/LaMoille in the 800 meters, Alyse Southard of Pecatonica-Durand in the 1600 meters, Gwen Heimerdinger of Pearl City in the discus and talented West Carroll sprinter Hayley Guilinger.
Tri-op Galena/East Dubuque/River Ridge will be a favorite once again led by sprinter Paige Christopher.