Norfolk Catholic track and field

Returning state qualifiers for the Norfolk Catholic track teams are (girls, from left) Saylor Fischer, Kenzie Janssen, Morgan Miller, Channatee Robles, Eva Hartzel and Aubrey Barnes; (boys, from left) Kanyon Talton, Carter Janssen, Kade Peiper, John Clausen, Ty Lammers, Mason Timmerman, Nathan Kalous and Trevin Sukup.

The Norfolk Catholic boys and girls track and field squads both have several athletes with state meet experience returning.

Those returnees, and the confidence built during a school year of athletic success, have longtime coach Tim Kassmeier looking forward to the success of both teams throughout the season.

“We’ve had a good run of athletes all year long, both boys and girls, and some very successful sports seasons,” Kassmeier said. “Hopefully that builds some confidence that carries into this season for us, too.”

For the boys track team, the season offers an opportunity to be among the contenders at the state track meet in May.

Kassmeier’s boys teams won the Class C state championship in 2017 and 2019, with a runner-up finish in 2018, as well as a third-place finish in 2021 and a seventh-place finish a year ago.

“Our boys have a chance to be pretty good with Kade (Pieper), the state champ in the shot put, being back. He placed the last two years in both the shot and the discus,” Kassmeier said. “We just want to keep him healthy and keep him improving, but I think our throwers — with Brandon Kollars back and Nolan Fennessy deciding to be part of the track team this year — are going to be a strong point for us.

“Kade, as a senior who scored significant points at last year’s state track meet including the shot title and an eighth-place result in the discus, gives us something in that spot that should be pretty definite. Brandon and Nolan are both juniors. Nolan has played soccer the past two years, so he hasn’t thrown since he was in junior high, but he has great potential.”

Kassmeier also has high hopes for another senior, Kanyon Talton, who ran both the 400 and 800 last year at state but whose talent could direct him to other events.

“Kanyon is a lot stronger than he was last year, and he could help us in a number of different things. He could be a high jumper, could be a sprinter for us,” Kassmeier said. “He’s pretty talented, so trying to find the right areas for him will be big.”

The Knights also qualified the 4x800 relay with Ty Lammers, Nathan Kalous, Talton and Trevin Sukup teaming up for a 16th-place finish at state a year ago.

Sukup ran a leg in place of graduated distance ace Ben Hammond so Hammond could compete fully rested in his two strongest events, the 1,600 and 3,200, although, Kassmeier said, “Trevin hadn’t trained for it all year.”

This season Sukup will be a valuable asset for Norfolk Catholic in the jumps, especially the triple jump, but also will be a member of the Knights’ sprint corps, while the distance group will hopefully sort itself out.

Kassmeier said he hopes the team can replace the points Hammond earned last year at state. Candidates might be found in juniors Carter Janssen and Aiden Kosch.

“We’re hoping that Carter, who finished third at the district and was less than a second out of qualifying as an additional in the 100, can stay healthy and be a factor in the sprints,” Kassmeier said. “We were also less than a second out of qualifying our 4x100 as an additional, so with Carter and also Mason Timmerman back, along with some other guys like Aiden who could run on it, we hope we can put a good relay together.”

Another field event where the Knights have ability is in the pole vault.

“John Clausen and Clayton Carney are both pole vaulters for us,” Kassmeier said. “They finished second and third at our district meet last year, and John finished 14th at state in that event, and Clayton just missed out on being an extra qualifier. Those two together should have a really successful season for us, too.”

With improvement during the season one priority, the other is maintaining the health and availability of Norfolk Catholic’s athletes along the way.

“I think we can be in the top 10,” Kassmeier said. “Our hope is to have a good day and finish in the top five, then see how it plays out. You just never know. A lot of it depends on being healthy at that time of year.”

THE GIRLS squad tied for 12th place at last year’s state meet, scoring 12 points, and was led by the first-place finish of the 4x100 relay that returns three of its runners — Kenzie Janssen, Saylor Fischer and Aubrey Barnes.

Channatee Robles contributed third-place points in the high jump as well, following a 10th-place finish the year before.

“We’re missing one girl from our 4x100, and we might have two or three girls that could run on that this year,” Kassmeier said. “We probably have five or six girls that could run on every relay, so it makes it a little tougher to figure out as the season goes along. Last year all four relays made it to state.”

Two of those relays — the 1,600 and 3,200 — finished among the top 12, while individually Eva Hartzell (11th place, 100 high hurdles) and Barnes (14th, 100 and 20th, long jump) competed well and gained valuable experience.

Janssen, Morgan Miller and Barnes ran legs on the 4x400 (10th), with Miller and Robles having roles on the 4x800 (12th).

In addition to the girls who competed at state, Kassmeier said the team is counting on Fischer “to make a big jump from last year to this year” in the hurdles.

“Aubrey was the sprint champion at the district meet and was an additional qualifier in the long jump,” Kassmeier said. “Kenzie Janssen is another kid who can do a lot of different things. She ran in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, ran the 200 and 400 — a pretty talented girl who could make a pretty big jump from last year.”

Fischer, Miller and Robles are all part of a senior class that Kassmeier said would “provide great leadership for us.”

“We’ve got some great seniors,” Kassmeier said. “It’s just a matter of figuring out what we can get done with what girls will be in what events — just fine-tune it as the season goes along.”

Kassmeier said the Knights also have a good group of freshmen.

“Jamaya Koehlmoos in the sprints, Sidonia Wattier in the hurdles and high jump and Micheli Fisher in middle distance and distance could all contribute immediately,” Kassmeier said. “Now it’s just a matter of figuring out what events they can do.”

Kassmeier emphasized that the goals for a top 10, possibly a top five, team finish are program goals that apply to both the boys and girls teams.

“We want to place among the top two or three teams in every meet,” Kassmeier said. “We want to contend for a district championship, then see how it all plays out at the state meet.”

Coaches for the Knights are Kassmeier, Terry Glenn (pole vault), Michaela Bellar (jumps, sprints), Jon Krings (middle distance, distance), Blake Moen (throws) and Gary Schuurmans (hurdles).

Norfolk Catholic boys track and field roster

Seniors: Cameron Borgmann, John Clausen, Ty Lammers, Kade Pieper, Kanyon Talton and Mason Timmerman.

Juniors: Clayton Carney, Nolan Fennessy, Alec Foecking, Carter Janssen, Aiden Kosch, Brandon Kollars, Dominic Liess, Noah Morland, Ben Sousek, Sam Speidel and Mason Weidner.

Sophomores: Shaun Clinch, Mason Dusek, Carter Fisher, Nathan Kalous, Tyler Pfeifer, Tyson Risinger, Alexander Rios, Owen Snodgrass and Trevin Sukup.

Freshmen: Leighton Burbach, Omar Contreras, Oliver Daniel, Danny Kollars, Justin Leader, Corbyn Putney and Nathan Timmerman.

Norfolk Catholic girls track and field roster

Seniors: Piper Craig, Saylor Fischer, Grace Koch, Lauren Preister, Morgan Miller, Josy Mrsny and Channatee Robles.

Juniors: Aubrey Barnes and Grace Fanta.

Sophomores: Eva Hartzell, Kenzie Janssen and Kalie Preister.

Freshmen: Claire Christensen, Paiton Craig, Micheli Fisher, Bailey Kassmeier, Jamaya Koehlmoos, Grace Kosch, Marley Akin-Olugbade and Sidonia Wattier.

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