Gael boys rebuild in track

Several new names will now have a chance to enhance the rich tradition of the St. Edmond boys track program.

After finishing in the top four of the Class 2A state meet in five of the past six years, Bill Kibby’s Gaels must fill the glaring void left by the departure of six reliable seniors, including defending state qualifiers Seth Reel (3200), Hank Lentsch (110-hurdles, high jump and shuttle hurdle relay) and Cory Angstrom (shuttle hurdle relay).

Lentsch, who now competes for the University of South Dakota, also participated in the 110-hurdles and high jump at the 2013 Drake Relays.

“We’re really going to be young with only four seniors out, which hurts just like in any other sport,” said Kibby, who directed SEHS to state titles in both 2009 and 2011. “I wish we had some more upperclassmen on the team, but we do have a good group of freshmen and sophomores to fill in at different spots. We’re going to need a lot of help from our younger guys.”

Seniors Vinnie Harvey (shotput and discus), Casey McEvoy (distance), Jacob Sande (middle distance) and Tristan Sitzmann (sprints and hurdles) provide the Gaels with a solid foundation. Juniors Levi Hopkins (sprints), Landon Hughett (hurdles), Raff Naughton (shotput, discus and sprints), Landon Peed (hurdles, sprints and middle distance) and Nate Yetmar (middle distance) are also expected to play key roles.

“We have some pretty talented kids, but don’t have an outstanding anchor man like a Neil Flattery that we’ve always had in the past,” Kibby said. “Right now, we’re just kind of an unknown commodity.”

Peed placed 24th in the 2A 800 last spring inside Drake Stadium. As a junior, Sitzmann ran the second leg on St. Edmond’s state-qualifying shuttle hurdle relay, which set a new school mark of 1:00.55 on the blue oval.

Harvey, Peed and sophomore Tate O’Tool were each all-state selections in football this past fall for 1A state runner-up St. Edmond. Harvey also recently settled for a 220-pound individual silver medal at the 1A state wrestling meet.

“Landon and Tate will both probably run the 200, 400 and 800,” said Kibby. “Those guys will be two of our better runners.”

In addition to O’Tool, sophomores Devin Camamo, Colin Flattery, Alex Loerts and Payton Sitzmann are the other letterwinners back for SEHS.

“It’s always fun seeing what happens with a new group of guys,” Kibby said. “I still enjoy watching people improve throughout the season.”

With the weather conditions always changing, the Gaels have been forced to move a number of practices inside.

“That’s the bad thing about track in Iowa,” said Kibby. “Until the weather breaks, you can’t really get a good idea of times and performances.”

Assisting Kibby this year will be Donn Larson, who previously directed St. Edmond’s girls track team.

SEHS will make its 2014 outdoor debut Wednesday at the CYO meet in Storm Lake.