North looks south to state
There is a time for firsts, and for Woodstock North High School boys track and field head coach John Fredericks, the time is now. Fredericks said he thinks the Thunder have a good shot at sending the team’s first member to the IHSA state tournament this year.
Senior pole vaulter Jon Walsh already has exceeded the state meet-qualifying height of 13 feet, 3 inches, clearing 14-3 March 22 at Harvard. Indoors, Walsh has cleared higher than 15 feet. Fredericks said he believes Walsh will be the first boys track and field team member to qualify for the state tournament.
“He’s loaded with potential,” Fredericks said of Walsh, who also competes in the triple jump, high jump and long jump. “There is really a great chance he will be our first state qualifier. With his potential, he could medal at state.”
The Thunder’s team captains are seniors Ben Markison, Trey Grover, Jordan Kempf and Jeff Taylor.
Taylor, who was the team’s leading point scorer last season, broke his left leg in practice and will miss the entire season.
“We’re still OK, but to have our high-point member out for the season will hurt us,” Fredericks said.
The coach also said he believes his sprint relay teams will have a good chance for success this season.
“Our sprint relays placed all last year,” Fredericks said. “They should place for us this year at invitationals. We don’t have the one kid who will be burning out in an open race, but we have a collection of guys who are really good. … We missed placing our 4-by-400 relay by less than .5 second, so getting a sprint team to qualify for state would be another goal.”
The 4-by-100 team will be comprised of Markison, junior Brian Loftin, Grover and junior Adam Haimbaugh. The 4-by-200 team will be Markison, Dylan Trafton, Grover and Haimbaugh, while the 4-by-400 team will include Markison, junior Sidney Smith and Kempf. Walsh was part of the 4-by-400 team at the Harvard meet, but Fredericks is looking at another runner to take his place and free him up for his other events.
Markison said he is excited to be leading off for the sprint relay teams.
“I’m honored to start all three races,” he said. “It’s important to get out fast and put our team in position to win.”
Fredericks said, the team’s weakness is the distance group, primarily because they are young.
“Almost all of them were freshmen last year,” he said. “There’s potential there, but nobody has stepped up to be the leader of the distance group yet. We need to find a leader.”
Markison said the team is primed to have a good season.
“It’s greatly improved,” Markison said. “We have a good work ethic. Practices are a lot better this year. We should have a good season.”
The roster includes seniors Chris Ashley, Jesse Eames, Guillermo Estrada, Jordan, Austin Krol, Ben Medlicott, Matt Podgorski, JJ Ruiz, Jon Swanson, Nick Taylor and Taylor Webster; juniors Forrest Barlas, Zach Brokaw, Shawn Busch, Antonio Cervantes, Alex Iverson, Ricky Krenger, Edgar Lopez, Richard Lucke, Chris Mutert, Trevor Nomm, Felipe Ortiz, Gerardo Roman, Rudy Villafuerte and Sam Weiner; sophomores Cullen Anderson, Kyle Bacon, Mitchell Cooper, Spencer Delgado, Zach Delgado, Jose Fabian, Chris Gabrielson, Juan Garcia, Louis Gonzalez, Matt Jensen, Bryce Kille, Cody Kupsik, Austin Moser, Sergio Rodriguez, Danny Rugo, PJ Senn, James Serratos, David Smith, Tristin Smith, Grant Wade and Andrew Wood; and freshman Brad Blalock, Constantino Carbajal, Leo Chavez, Chris Chiluk, Brendan Domek, Ben Flores, TJ Jensen, Jimmy Krenger, Sean Lagerstrom, Trent Liebmann, Taylor Madison, Joe Miceli, Cesar Popoca, Sam Reuter, Nick Rugo, Leo Stavropoulos, Santiago Umana and Josh Walsh.