Kewaunee track works for another winning season
After winning the Packerland Conference title the last three years, Kewaunee boys track and field head coach Joe Kassner says his team is preparing for another winning season.
“There are three other teams in the race – Sturgeon Bay, Southern Door and Algoma,” Kassner said this week.
The Storm’s team has four strong seniors and a lot of younger classmen, Kassner said.
Kassner predicted that the team has a good chance of another conference title this year, if he can get his key team members healthy.
Senior Zach Baumgartner is still recovering from an ankle injury from the basketball season and he is the “best 400 meter runner in the conference” as well as strong in the triple jump, Kassner said.
In addition, Senior Travis Squires, who runs the 100 meters, is also recovering from injuries..
Noah Kleiman is returning in the hurdles and high jump and senior Jake Brungraber is a strong contender in shotput and discus.
But the Storm has some younger talent as well. Junior Mitch Kudick will bring his skills to play in the 800 meter, pole vault and relays, while sophomore Jacob Basten is one of the top high jumpers and triple jumpers in the conference, Kassner said.
The number of boys on the team is also smaller than he would like, with about 28 members compared to Sturgeon Bay which has more than 40, he said .
But he noted that the Storm’s girls varsity team was deeper this year.
Abby VanGoethem and Haylie Novak bring versatility to the team that help them stand out in any event, agreed Storm girls head coach Michelle Riedi-Baumgartner.
Amanda VanDenPlas and Brianna VanDenPlas can be counted on for strong race and distance running performances, she said.
But VanGoethem is recovering from a basketball ankle injury and may not get to “full strength” until later in the season, she said. Van Goethem is the only returning state qualifier, placing sixth in the triple jump, and 10th in the 300-meter hurdles, as well as competing in the state 100-meter race last year, she said.
Riedi-Baumgartner said that she is also looking for good things from Nicole Steinhorst in shotput and discus.
Her daughter, Abby Baumgartner, a junior, said she is determined to go to sectionals in at least one of her three events, including the high jump, 300 meter hurdles and 4 x 400 relay.
Sarah Dax is one of several freshman girls who show good potential for this year’s team, she said.
Kassner is beginning his 10th year as head coach, while Riedi-Baumgartner has served as head girls coach for five years. As they both shivered during practice last week before Tuesday’s meet, they agreed that the cold spring weather had delayed their outdoor practices.
“We won the last three years, and everyone predicts us to win again,” Kassner said.
On Tuesday, Kewaunee boys came in second with 78 points in a home quad meet with Sturgeon Bay winning the meet with 109 points. Algoma was third with 51.5 points and Sevastopol came in fourth with 33.5. Kewaunee girls came in first with 95.5 points, followed by Algoma with 77 points, Sturgeon Bay with 61.5 points and Sevastopol with 27 points..
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Kewaunee track works for another winning season