Waukon boys track team returns State Meet experience in long jump, middle distance within 13 letterwinners

2015 Waukon boys track returning letterwinners: Left to right - Front row: Adam Benzing, Jake Ronan, Landon Sivesind, Travis Herman, Marshall Lyons. Second row: Wyatt Wille, T.J. Treptau, Isaac Fink, Tanner Manning, Peyton Hesse. Back row: Tyler O’Neill, Chris Miller. Not pictured: Hunter Jensen.

The Waukon boys track team will benefit from a good number of 55 young men making up its 2015 roster this spring, including a collection of 13 varsity letterwinners who return with veteran experience. Not only do those returnees bring back veteran experience, but nearly all of those Indian letterwinners also come back with some sort of state-level experience at the highest season-end level of competition.
Among that high-level experience is the 4x800 relay foursome of junior Peyton Hesse and seniors Adam Benzing, Marshall Lyons and Landon Sivesind that qualified for last season’s State Track Meet, along with fellow senior Travis Herman, who did likewise in the long jump. Additionally, juniors Tanner Manning, T.J. Treptau and Isaac Fink, along with sophomores Tyler O’Neill and Hunter Jensen, all bring not only veteran experience but the added value of competing at this past fall’s State Cross Country Meet.
“Our middle distance/distance crew has a lot of kids returning that either have a great experience from running at the State Meet last spring or running at the State Cross Country Meet this past fall,” Coach Snitker said. “Right now I have to feel like they will be our teams’ strength, at least to start the year.”
Senior Jake Ronan and juniors Wyatt Wille and Chris Miller round out this season’s list of veteran returnees. “As always, we expect our letterwinners to lead our practices and our meets, especially early in the year,” Coach Snitker said. “The young guys and new guys need that leadership as they start to get their feet wet. As the season progresses, and those new guys become more comfortable, we still expect our letterwinners to lead, but more by what they are trying to accomplish themselves and how they compete, whether that be the best finish they achieve in the NEIC Meet, our Indian Relays, or a chance to compete down at the State Meet.”
That leadership will try and fill some pretty big shoes from last season, as a handful of State Meet competitors - including some top finishers at that level - were lost to graduation. Graduated senior Seth Snitker took with him multi-year State Meet Qualification in both the shot put and discus, including a state championship discus effort and runner-up finish in the shot put. Snitker was joined by fellow senior Glyeb Ewing within the Class 3A shot put top-10, with graduated teammates Parker Hesse and Marcus Weymiller also taking with them State Meet efforts in sprint events.
Even though he did not graduate, would-be junior Eben Shelton will also leave his own hole to fill with his family moving to Korea this past year. Shelton competed for the Indians in the State Meet 4x800 in the absence of an ailing Peyton Hesse, and also contributed in some of the longer sprint events.
“We will have some tremendous holes to fill in the shot and disc with Seth and Glyeb graduating,” Coach Snitker said. “We will also need some guys to step up in the sprints with Parker and Marcus graduating and Eben now in Korea.”
Joining that nucleus of returning letterwinners in meeting that challenge will be a variety of seasoned athletes from other Indian sports teams. “We have a lot of guys who have contributed at the varsity level in one sport or another,” Coach Snitker said. “We would like those guys to bring their experience to help our youngsters develop and mature as competitors.”
Regardless of being able to replace those high-level losses or not, Coach Snitker says the goals for his team remain much the same. “We usually have the same goals for most seasons,” he explained. “Compete as hard as we can, improve throughout the season so we are peaking at the end, place well as a team at our Indian Relays and the NEIC Meet, and then qualify as many events and athletes for the State Meet as possible. “If we can do those things, the season has been successful.”
Those goals will present their own challenges, as the competitors who typically stand in the way of those feats are among some of the best not only in the Northeast Iowa Conference (NEIC), but in the entire state. “The NEIC always has tremendous athletes and has a great tradition for track,” Coach Snitker said. “Waverly and Decorah will be very tough, along with Charles City and New Hampton.”
The Indians will get their first taste of the challenges this year’s Northeast Iowa Conference will offer when they compete in the NEIC Meet Tuesday, March 24 at Wartburg College in Waverly to open the 2015 season. The track Tribe will then take part in its first outdoor meet of the season the following Tuesday, March 31 at Sumner-Fredericksburg.