Tigers' potential on track postponed
Nevis' boys and girls track teams will have to wait until next spring to judge talent.
With 18 athletes returning who competed at last year’s Subsection 8-29A meet, head coach Jen McNamee was expecting successful seasons from the Nevis boys and girls track and field teams this spring.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Tigers from seeing how successful this spring was going to be.
“As coaches, we were extremely excited about the potential of this upcoming season,” said McNamee, who was going to be assisted by Tom Stambaugh, Stacey Feder and Doug Hanson. “We had 25 girls out for track, which is one of our largest teams, and our boys numbers remained consistent, with a good number of distance runners. We had a lot of potential.”
Seniors Luke DeWulf and Michael Gunn were looking to help the Nevis boys improve on last year’s 41 points for fifth place at the subsection meet and 25 points for 12th place at the Section 8A meet while seniors Cole Mastley, Sierra Wroolie, Anna Hennagir and Ivy Huckbody were hoping to help the Nevis girls improve on their 93 points for third place at the subsection meet and 37 points for ninth place at the section meet.
Also expected to contribute for the Nevis boys were juniors Jack McNamee and Zach Rypkema; sophomores George Bjorklund, Reese Mowell and Nathan Pyburn; freshmen Evan Pohl and Jon Rice; and seventh graders Blake Kowalke and Noah Kramer.
Rounding out the girls team were juniors Haylie Mowell and Sadie Thurner; sophomores Makenna Frazier, Marissa Engst, Amber Gabriel and Izzy Wallace; freshmen Addison Lindow, Jade Rypkema, Molly LIndow, Emily Funk, Savannah Anderson, Liddy DeWulf, Izzy Brakke, Paige Schuft and Mallory Kowalke; eighth graders Marley Mitchell and Mya Stacey; and seventh graders Grace McNamee and Jenna Lunde.
Of that group, DeWulf, McNamee and Jade Rypkema were looking to return to the state Class A meet. DeWulf tied for 10th place in the long jump, Rypkema was 13th in the 3,200-meter run and McNamee placed 16th in the 1,600 run at last year’s state meet.
At last year’s section meet, DeWulf was the runner-up in the long jump while just missing a state berth in the 100 by placing third. McNamee advanced to state with a runner-up finish in the 1,600. Pohl placed seventh in the 3,200 and joined Gunn, Mowell and Bjorklund in the 4 x 800 relay that finished eighth. Gunn also placed 16th in the 3,200.
For the girls, Rypkema won the section title in the 3,200 while Mastley placed fifth in the discus and seventh in the shot put. Frazier, Addison Lindow and Mitchell ran on the 4 x 400 relay team that placed eighth. Also competing at the section meet were Frazier (11th in the 400) and Lindow (13th in the 800).
Andrea Dudley capped off her senior season by scoring 21 points at the section meet, placing second in the 300 hurdles, third in the 100 hurdles and triple jump, and running on the 4 x 400 relay team. Dudley, who was the subsection champion in all three individual events, placed 12th in the 300 hurdles at the state meet.
Helping the Nevis girls place third at the subsection meet were Rypkema (first in the 3,200), Frazier (first in the 400 and fifth in the 100 hurdles), the 4 x 400 relay team (second), Addison Lindow (third in the 800), Mastley (third in the discus and fourth in the shot put), Stacey (sixth in the 800 and tied for seventh in the high jump), Hennagir (sixth in the triple jump, 14th in the 100 and 14th in the 200), Wroolie (seventh in the shot put and eighth in the discus), Mitchell (eighth in the 100) and Engst (11th in the discus).
For the boys, claiming runner-up honors were DeWulf in the long jump and 100, McNamee in the 1,600, and the 4 x 800 relay team. In the 3,200, Gunn was fifth and Pohl finished sixth. Also competing at the subsection meet were Mowell (sixth in the 1,600), Bjorklund (10th in the 3,200), Pyburn (14th in the triple jump and 15th in the long jump), Rice (16th in the 800) and Rypkema (20th in the 800).
Rypkema won the 1,600 and 3,200; Frazier was the runner-up in the 100, 400, 110 hurdles and high jump; and Mastley took second in the discus in helping the Nevis girls win the conference title. Dudley was the conference champ in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, triple jump and long jump. The Tigers placed fourth in the boys meet behind winning efforts by DeWulf in the long jump and Bjorklund, Gunn, McNamee and Pohl in the 4 x 800 relay. Adding runner-up times were McNamee in the 1,600 and Gunn in the 3,200.
“I am devastated for our seniors, Luke, Michael and Cole had the state meet as their goal this season. Luke had a great shot of returning to state in the long jump and possibly the 100, Cole had an opportunity to possibly advance in the shot put and/or the discus, and Michael worked very hard in the offseason to train for the 3,200. The 4 x 800 relay team of Michael, George, Evan and Jack had hopes of advancing to state and Jack had a great opportunity of returning to state in the 1,600 and/or the 800. Jade was the favorite in our section for the 1,600 and 3,200,” said McNamee. “Being as small as we are as a team, most of our opportunities come from our individual athletes, but we were excited to see how our relay teams would have compared with other teams this year. Our boys and girls showed a lot of promise.”
The Tigers had plenty of talent in the distance events with McNamee, Gunn, Bjorklund, Pohl and Mowell for the boys and Rypkema, Molly Lindow, Funk, Schuft, McNamee, Gabriel, Mowell and Anderson for the girls all running cross country last fall. Those runners - along with Frazier, Addison LIndow, Stacey and Mitchell - would have provided depth in the middle distances for the girls. Rice (400, 800, 300 hurdles), Rypkema (middle distance events), Pyburn (100, long jump, triple jump), Kowalke (shot put, discus) and Kramer (shot put and discus) for the boys as well as Mitchell (sprints, long jump); Hennagir (200, 400, triple jump); Bakke, Stacey and McNamee (hurdles); Thurner, Anderson and Kowalke (sprints); Huckbody (shot put, discus); and DeWulf, Molly Lindow and Wallace (discus) for the girls would have filled key spots.
Not being able to compete this spring was devastating for the seniors. While that group will be impossible to replace, McNamee is looking forward to seeing what the returning crew can accomplish next spring.
“I am really sad for our kids. So many kids have been looking forward to track season all year. So many showed so much potential. They will have their opportunity to shine, but my heart is broken for our seniors,” said McNamee. “Our seniors will be greatly missed, but we have a lot of potential coming back. Our future looks bright.”