By Dan Truttschel~Sports Correspondent
With increased numbers on both rosters comes higher expectations and hopes for the Wilmot boys and girls track teams this spring.
Longtime Wilmot coach Norm Preo said this week he’s been pleased to see more athletes signed up to compete on both squads.
“The number of athletes on each team is way up from last year,” he said. “We have twice as many boys on the team this year and three times as many girls as last year.”
Preo said the boys’ squad will be led by a slew of seniors, many of whom are entering their fourth season with the varsity squad.
He’s banking on that experience to lead the way.
“We’re looking forward to seeing them in their final high school season,” Preo said. “For most of these senior boys, this is their fourth year on varsity, and they’ve come a long way since their freshman year.
“They have shown dramatic improvements from season to season.”
Among the seniors Preo and his coaches will count on this spring are Zach Zenner, Matt Svejnoha, Bennett Kothe and Jake Hinzpeter, sprints-jumps; Doug Edmonds, Paul Swartz and Jimmy Scully, throws; Tyler Magee, Andre Cuevas and Alex Clark, pole vaulters; Chris Lindstrand, hurdles; and Pete Braakman and Andy Lemar, distance.
In addition, Preo said he hopes to have senior Justin Schweitzer back in the lineup before the end of the year. Schweitzer, who competed at the state meet in the 110-hurdles a year ago, continues to recover from a torn knee ligament he suffered during the football season.
The story is a similar one for the Wilmot girls, as Preo said not only are there more athletes on the roster, there is plenty of talent to go around.
“We have some talented athletes who had much success last season,” Preo said.
Among the leaders for the girls is sophomore Haylee Martin, who will compete in both the sprints and the jumping events.
“She is an extremely talented jumper-sprinter, and we are excited to have her on the team for another season,” Preo said.
Among the others who should make significant contributions, according to Preo, are Josie Gieser (high jumper) and two newcomers, freshman Rebecca Alter and senior Sarah Vozel.
As for the Southern Lakes Conference, Preo said teams to watch include Badger, Burlington, Waterford and Westosha Central.
Preo is assisted by Bill Dinegan (distance), Jon Watson and Kyle Tobias (pole vault), Keiya Square (jumps and sprints) and Jared Franz (throws).
The Wilmot girls were fifth, while boys were seventh at Saturday’s Kenosha County Indoor Track Championship at Kenosha Bradford.
Martin and Austin Haag each came home with individual titles to lead the Panthers’ effort.
Martin won the 400 (1:05.39), while Haag was first in the high jump (6-0).
Martin also was third in the 55 (8.1), the 200 (28.62) and the long jump (16-2).
Other top girls’ efforts were turned in by Gieser, third in the high jump (4-11), while Alter was fourth in the 200 (29.24) and fifth in the 400 (1:07.28).