Bulldogs scheduled to open season Monday at home.
One of the largest roster numbers in program history make up the Rolla High School track and field squad this spring.
“Many past RHS high school track teams have usually been over 100 athletes, with some years as high as 120,” said Don Knapp, entering his 34th year as Rolla High track and field head coach. “But this year the season has started in excess of 130 athletes from grades 9-12.
“Along with the large number of athletes, there are many returning, experienced varsity lettermen. Some earned state meet experience last year and have aspirations of returning there again this spring.”
RHS is scheduled to open the season Monday, hosting Salem in a dual meet, starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Rolla Community Track.
“Rolla track should have a good spring,” Knapp said. “They have been working hard in practice and many of the returning athletes have started off where they finished last year. They appear to be ahead of where the coaching staff hoped they would be after the first couple weeks of practice.”
Here is a look at the events for the RHS boys’ and girls’ track squads:
The Bulldogs were hit hard by graduation, losing Class 4 800-meter state champion James Kosbar as well as the all-state 4x400-meter relay team of Kosbar, Jordan Kaden and Liam Jennings as well as 4x800 relay all-staters Jennings and Kosbar. All three are now running in college.
Returning in the 800 and 1,600 events are senior Will Crutcher, a track and cross country state qualifier, along with seniors Kevin Gao and Nate Potrafka; juniors Devin Seest, Josh Weisenborn and Lucas Marling, and sophomores Brandon Burris and Charlie Roberts.
New distance runners include junior Mike Jennings and freshman Alex Frisbee. Other distance runners include junior Jeremy Dalton, sophomore Michael Hicks and freshmen Tristan Lietz, Eskil Mjaaseth, Wyatt Owens, Seth Smith, Johnnie Swizdor, Wesley Sutton, Tanner Mertens and Brayden Monterreza.
Sprints should be a main scoring area for the Bulldogs, led by seniors Nathan Cunningham, Adam Dent, Josh Leon and Lee Clancy. Joining them on longer sprints and relays are seniors Crutcher and Aaron Read. New to the team is junior Curtis Martin and sophomore sprinters are Klay Pearson, Caleb Dobry and Caleb Turner.
Promising freshmen include Jarret Gabriele, Ahmed Boubacar, Kaleb Childes, Coby Martin, Clyde Jakosalem, Tanner Mertens, Bryce O’Connor, Tobenna Orizu and Jaden Tate.
Headlining the hurdles for RHS are all-conference and all-district hurdlers junior Theon Hope and sophomore Nick Janke; Hope in the 110-meter high hurdles and Janke in the 300 hurdles. Other hurdlers will be senior Ben Shelton; junior Colton Moore, and sophomores Chris Medley and Bradley Shelton. New hurdle runners include junior Earl Medrano and freshmen Josh Traxel, William Moore and Mezie Orizu.
Pole vault should be another scoring event for Rolla. Back is senior Austin Rabenau, junior Brandon Clingenpeel and sophomores Landon Adams and Caleb Turner. Turner set a new freshman record last year but injured a shoulder in the fall and may see limited duty in the event this spring. New vaulters are juniors Grant Atkins, Lucas Marling and Medrano and freshmen Josh Waldman, Nathan Gonzles, Justin McEnaney, Levi Gibfreid and Mason Harrison.
Some outstanding athletes return for RHS in the three jumping events. A strong foursome of Janke, junior Xavier Douglas, Crutcher and Read are back, all scoring in the conference and district meets a year ago. Janke led the charge in the high jump.
Crutcher was a state meet qualifier in the triple jump, and Janke will be adding that event this spring. Other jumpers include senior Ben Shelton; juniors Joseph Switzer and Martin; sophomore Brad Shelton and freshmen Coby Martin, Monterreza and Moore.
A new throwing event has been added to Missouri prep track this season on a trial basis is the javelin. The javelin will be a regular, scoring event in 2017.
In the shot put and discus returners include seniors Beau Cartwright, Jakin Ellison, Jordan Gaskins, Brian Saladino and Zak Phillips; junior Brandon Frazier, and sophomore Isaiah Thompson. New freshman throwers are Robert Mixson, Brandon Kirchner, Kaberon Burgess and Corbin Cox.
Dependable scorers for the Lady Bulldogs lost to graduation include Morgan Grooms, Kayla Reed, Aarika Froehlich and Kalise Garner.
Junior Addy Brow leads the charge of returners in the middle distance/distance events. She is a two-time state qualifier in both track and cross country.
Other distance, middle distance and/or long sprints will be manned by returners in sophomores Krista Hilmas, Ashton Gilbert, Shelby Wallen, Vishka Ho and Kim Jannick as well as new runners sophomore Anne-Christine Schulz; junior Koulthem Bubacar, and freshmen Olivia Holmes, Abigail Williams, Megan Reynolds and Skylar Kaden.
Brow and seniors Sophia Holmes, Joanna Callier and Meredith Sowers formed the state-qualifying 4x400 and 4x800 relays squads a year ago.
Other returning sprinters include juniors Kameron Jordan and Bre Alexander; sophomores Shannon Chan, Allie Harmon, Riley Maynard, Mckenzie Proffitt and Lillie Scheffer. Sowers will be a long sprinter, along with Callier, Brow and senior Cabria Ryckman. New sprinters are junior Calista McCormack and freshmen O. Holmes, Makenna Myers and Brionna Pedrin.
Senior Tandra Logiudice leads the charge in the 100 high and 300 low hurdles for RHS. Joining her will be several new hurdlers, including senior Hannah Delp; juniors Anna Kaczmarek and Madison Hansen; sophomore Courtney Colench, and freshmen Kassie Hayes and Taryn Kamprath. Also, Sowers will be competing in the 300 hurdles for the first time.
In the pole vault juniors Taylor Stevens and Kirsten Waldman are back joined by sophomores Ho and Scheffer. New vaulters with promise were sophomore Kelly Cates and freshmen Mallory Persicke, Sabrina Harrington, Tania Bowman, Jessica Crump and Kiera Deskin.
Returning jumpers for the Lady Bulldogs are Ryckman and juniors Amber Back, Sarah Butler and Taylor Stevens. Ryckman, who has committed to run at S&T, scored the conference and district meets in the sand jumping events and advanced to the sectionals in the long jump. New jumpers include senior Aideen McEnaney in the sand jumpers; sophomore Colench in the high jump; Delp in all three jumps, and freshmen Hayes and Autumn Buschjost.
Leading the way for the RHS girls in the throwing events is senior Madison Bartle, who was a state-qualifier in the discus last year. Other returning throwers are juniors Celia Parsons, Audrey Flett, Kaczmarek and Olivia Rinck, and senior Taylor Hance. New throwers are juniors Kaley Burgess, Bubacar, Jade Nicewanger; sophomores Savannah Womack and Emilee Bias, and freshmen Cheyanne King, Sadie Cartwright, Hannah Storie, Mikayla Medlock and Kaylee Davis.
BULLDOG NOTES: Knapp’s assistants include Aaron Bartle in sprint events; Cyndi Kinder in distance events; Josh Terranova in the throwing events, and Logan MacCash in the jumping and pole vault.
Rolla will again compete in Class 4 and will be part of the Class 4 District 5 Meet at Camdenton. Other District 5 schools include Bolivar, Camdenton, Jefferson City Helias Catholic, Springfield Hillcrest, Marshfield, Pacific, St. Clair, St. Francis Borgia, Sullivan, Union and Willard.
Due to the new synthetic turf field being installed at Lincoln’s football field at Dwight Reed Stadium, starting this season the Missouri high school track state championships are being moved across the street, to Jefferson City High School.
The 2016 schedule:
March 21...Salem, 3:30 p.m.
March 24...Waynesville Open, 4 p.m.
March 29...Waynesville JV Invitational, 4 p.m.
March 31...Lebanon Invitational, 4 p.m.
April 5...Osage Freshman-Sophomore Meet, 4 p.m.
April 7...Springfield Girls Night Out, 3 p.m.
April 8...Springfield Hillcrest Boys Invitational, 3 p.m.
April 11...Marshfield Invitational, 4 p.m.
April 12...Salem JV Invitational, 3 p.m.
April 16...Capital City Relays, 11 a.m.
April 19...Washington All-Relays, 3 p.m.
April 19...Jefferson City JV Duals, 4 p.m.
April 22...Owensville Relays, 3:30 p.m.
April 25...St. Clair Freshman-Sophomore Meet, 4 p.m.
April 30...Rolla Classic, 9 a.m.
May 4...Ozark Conference Meet at Springfield, 10 a.m.
May 14...Class 4 District 5 Meet at Camdenton, 10 a.m.
May 21...Class 4 Sectionals at Bolivar, 11 a.m.
May 27-28...Class 4 Championships at Jefferson City High