Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Rebels track and field has big numbers


Al Rose

The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels track and field team has 80 athletes out this spring.

Tony Andres is in his sixth season as head track and field coach for Moose Lake/Willow River. In his first year at the helm, Andres was honored as Section Coach of the Year as his boys team edged out Esko for a rare and exciting section title. The contingent of guys who went to the state meet narrowly missed earning a third place team trophy.

Andres is very optimistic about the prognosis for this year's group. "We have 80 participants for grades seven through 12," he stated. "This, I believe, is the second highest number of participants we've had since I started as head coach."

Andres has a very strong and experienced group of assistant coaches. "Adam Whelan, the cross country coach, is still with us and he does a great job with our distance runners. Also back are Sarah Thompson and Joe McDonnell," he said.

The Rebels have acquired another very experienced asset. Former Barnum sprint star and starting block specialist Noah Jurek has come to Willow River after being a successful head track and field coach at Northwestern High School for a couple of years and will be teaching elementary physical education and will be a MLWR assistant track and field coach.

The MLWR track and field team brings back three athletes with experience and success at the state meet. "Sam Coil went to the state meet as a sophomore last year and he made the podium with a fifth place finish in the shot put. He should also be good in the discus for us this year," said Andres. "Nicole Tekippe is coming back to us after an injury. She went to state a couple of years ago and made the podium with a ninth place finish in the 1,600-meter run. She'll be running that for us and may also do the 3,200-meter run. Our other athlete with state experience is Kennedy Bryant. She participated in the long jump as a seventh and eighth grader and she is now a freshman for us," stated the coach.

Andres spoke about three other distance runners. "Ethan Olson had an excellent cross country season," he said. "We would see him running the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run and possibly sprinting a leg for us on the 4x200-meter relay team. Joe Bustrak is another good 3,200-meter runner. Savannah Gamst, an eighth grader, was a cross country runner; we'll probably see her in the 3,200-meter run."

The coach mentioned some other girls expected to contribute. "Our girls sprinters will be Kennedy Bryant and Kiersten Evenson, a junior. Lauren Hartman is an eighth grader who may be a hurdler. Sarah Pasek, a junior, will throw the shot put and discus for us," said Andres.

Andres covered several others of the boys' events. "Luke Branson is a senior who will throw the shot put," he began. "Ryan Wilson will do the long and triple jump and the 110-meter high hurdles and possibly the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. Casey Koll is a senior and could do the 300 hurdles. Nick Furey is a senior who has proven himself in the 800-meter run and may also do the 400-meter dash and contribute to our middle distance relay teams."

The coach closed with his big bunch of speedsters. "We have a very strong group of sprinters among the boys. "Thomas Hansen is a senior and could very well be our lead sprinter," Andres predicted. "Thomas could also throw the shot put for us. Craig Nelson is a senior who will be a sprinter and he may also do the 400-meter dash. Bryceton Butkiewicz, a senior, and Colton Little, a sophomore, will be sprinters for us. Junior Isaac Riihilouma is with us for his first season for track and field and he will be a sprinter," stated Andres.

Andres closed with his hopes and expectations. "We will have very, very good balance on our boys team. We will be particularly strong in the sprints and the 4x100-meter and 4x200-meter relay teams," he stated. "As far as the girls, we will have some good individual performers. We never seem to have as many girls come out for track and field as we do boys. We will have to hope to see where the newcomers fill in," concluded the coach.

The Rebels' first meet is an indoors at the University of Wisconsin-Superior field house on Saturday, April 2, at 2 p.m. MLWR travels to Aitkin on Thursday, April 7, for a 4:30 p.m. meet. The Rebels will be competing on Esko's new track on Tuesday, April 12, at 4 p.m.


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