The Milbank Bulldogs’ track and field team faces many hurdles as they kick off their 2021 season. One of the challenges is the new state-qualifying system. “To qualify for the state meet, individuals and relays in every event need to be in the top 24 in the state. All meet results will be run through the athletic.net website,” explains head coach Eric Townsend. “The region meet is another chance to improve their status on the top-24 list.”
Because the 2020 season was canceled due to Covid, the teams and athletes will be working extra hard to make up for that loss of conditioning and experience. Townsend says the cancellation of last season caused some athletes to decide against joining the team this year, but it also encouraged others to give it a try. “We are looking forward to just having a season and being able to compete,” he says.
Six seniors will lead the team. They are Isaac Johnson, Dustin Gertsema, Allison Leddy, Amaya Street, Greta Snaza, and Madi Thue. Student managers are seniors Lindsey Mertens and Jessica Pillatzki.
The complete roster also includes: Juniors – Tatum Berry, Maiah Brown, Savanna Osowski, Shaylee Pekelder, Emily Van Hoorn, Dani Yamaura, Stevie Ash, Nick Batchelor, Connor Bender, Carter Bowsher, Maddox Hanson, Will Karels, Michael Karges, Kaden Krause, Jace Rufer, Jack Sandvig, Bennett Schwenn, Ryker Trevett, Marshall Voeltz, and Karson Weber.
Sophomores – Harley Davis, Averie Engebretson, Mallory Falk, Laney Forrette, Hillary Morton, Ellie Neugebauer, Ashlyn O’Farrell, Nadia Schneck, Casside Seezs, Elsie Seffrood, Maurina Street, Julia Wiik, Emily Wollschlager, Nick Anderson (manager), Khayri Bergman, Luis Berrones, Mason Cordingley, Sammy Femling, Aiden Foell, Jorge Franco-Gonzales, Sawyer Gauer, Eli Johnson, Max Lightfield, Barrett Schneck, Jacob Shelstad, and Dylan Sonon-Bohn.
Freshmen – Aubrey Fraasch, Sophia Gastineau, Kaitlyn Huber, Hope Karels, Maggie Kruger, Ivy Lewno, Brooke Mumbauer, Abby Pillatzki, Rachel Schulte, Cailey Sime, Kynlee Speidel, Jacynda Street, Nadia Thue, Stella Wendland, Hailey Zinter, James Batchelor, Raul Berrones, Payton Brown, Jairek Frazee, Isaac Graham, Jacob Johnson, JaydenJohnson, Josh Keeton, Landon Novy, Jose Ramirez, Avery Vanoverbeke, and Grant Van Peursem.
Eighth graders – Tyra Berry and Ashlee Van Hoorn. Seventh grader – Ashlynn Batchelor.
Coach Townsend is in his 11th year as head coach of the Bulldogs. He is assisted by Troy Gauer (long and triple jumps), Ryan Conrad (sprints), Kelli Hoff (high jump and discus), John Trevett (pole vault), Amy Thue (hurdles), Christine Townsend (shot put and middle school girls), Josh Schmeichel (middle school boys), and Becky Johnson (middle school).
Coach Townsend says his goals include competing for both the Northeast Conference and Region 1A team titles and qualifying as many athletes as possible for the state meet.
Seniors: Back row – (l. to r) Madi Thue, Amaya Street, and Isaac Johnson. Front row – Greta Snaza, Allison Leddy, and Dustin Gertsema.