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5 starters return from runner-up season

Staff writer

Marion High School students will participate in five sports this spring — baseball, softball, track, golf, and swim.

The golf team will be a cooperative venture with Centre. Swimming will be a cooperative venture with Centre, Hillsboro, and Peabody-Burns.

Baseball

The Warriors opened their regular season Thursday with two victories over Conway Springs.

Five multiyear starters from last year’s state runner-up team are back in action this season; Jack Lanning, Trevor Schafers, Cooper Bailey, Gavin Wasmuth, and Cole Smith.

Second-team all-state player Lander Smith will miss most, if not all of this season because of injury.

“We have the core roster to make another run deep into the postseason,” coach Roger Schroeder said.

A challenge the Warriors have this year is replacing depth they had on the mound last year.

“We must replace 50% of our innings pitched from last season, but we are hopeful Trevor can pick up a good amount of that workload after missing most of last year,” Schroeder said.

At the inaugural Air Capital Classic before the regular season, Marion dropped two games to 3A ranked schools Trinity Academy and Cheney.

“It was a good, tough test for us out of the gate,” Schroeder said. “Even having to fill four starting spots, our core of five return a ton of game reps and experience.”

The Warriors are beginning the season with a tough 10-game stretch from March 15 through Tuesday.

“At that point, I feel as though we can take a breath and settle into our roles for the stretch run in the second half of the season and postseason,” Schroeder said.

The Warriors will be at home Thursday hosting Little River.

Softball

Marion is led by three seniors this season: Hailey Kraus, Tessa Mendoza, and Calleigh Soyez.

Mendoza received state honors last season along with Bre Williams, who also will be returning this season. Both are instrumental to the success of the team.

“We are small in numbers; we are only suiting up a total of 12 players. But we have a large plan for progression throughout the season,” coach Jerry Mendoza said.

Each player has set individual goals to work toward.

“These are goals that are to be worked towards to improve themselves with the team perspective in mind,” Mendoza said. “Once each goal is achieved by a player, they continue to the next.

“Each one is meant to improve them as part of the team, and as a good consequence will improve the team.”

While the team is small in numbers, it has a large passion for success.

“And while a championship signifies a successful season, it does not mean a successful season was not had if there was no championship,” Mendoza said.

The Warriors will play host to Little River for two games Thursday.

Track

Two senior athletes — Gabby Newell and Jonathan Frese — will take lead this season for Marion track and field, .

Newell has been a hurdler for the last three years and will assume that role again this year.

She will also be helping out with relay events while being a mentor for younger athletes.

Frese will lead the sprint group while playing a key role in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay teams.

“We are looking forward to the 2024 track and field season with great anticipation and we can’t wait to see these two in action,” coach Grant Thierolf said.

Most of the throwing entries from last year return. That includes last year’s Heart of American and regional meet finalists Brian Nguyen, Sophia Dye, Jackson Bitonti, and Madisyn Hulett.

“We think all them have positioned themselves to throw better this year and they will help lead our throw group,” Thierolf said.

A couple veterans, Addison Cooper and Kenna Wesner, are going to lead the jump group while looking to improve on last season.

“They are both working hard, and we are expecting great seasons from both of them,” Thierolf said. “Our pole vaulters will once again be strength of our team.”

Kellen Waner was just shy of making the state meet in pole valut last year, and Hailey Harshman was in the final pole vault group at regionals.

“We are looking forward to improved seasons from both of them,” Thierolf said. “They are joined by two very good freshman, Isaac Wesner and Dylan Kraus.

Sam Loomis will be the lone high jumper on the team this season.

On the track side, Frese will be joined in the team’s sprint group by Jesse Snyder, Sam Calvert, Wyatt Soyez, Tripp Peterson, Hitch Soyez, Isaac Wesner, and Leroy Wessel.

“All are working hard and all will get faster each week.” Thierolf said. “Cooper Jirak will run the hurdle races for us, and we may talk Kellen Waner into the 300 hurdles again this year.’”

On the girls’ side, Newell will lead with the help of Taryn Kraus, who also runs hurdles as well and is focused on the 300 this season.

Joining these two girls will be Alycia Jones, Kaelynn Metro, and Eliza Richardson.

“We will get some good relay work from all members of the sprint and hurdle group, and getting on to the varsity relay teams will be quite an accomplishment for any of these young runners,” Thierolf said.

Distance runners will be led by Luke Wessel and Eli Klenda, who have put in a lot of work over the winter running through cold weather to prepare for this season.

“Luke will specialize in the 800 this season as we think he will be one of the best runners in the state,” Thierolf said. “Eli is healthy this season and has had a great winter of building miles and miles as he gets ready to challenge the best in the 3200.

“This is a fun group of athletes to work with, and we will enjoy watching them improve as we head into May.”

Marion’s first meet of the season will be Tuesday in Hillsboro, followed by the Marion Relays on April 5.

Golf

Eleven golfers will hit the greens in a co-op effort between Marion and Centre this season.

Things are being done a little differently this year .

Centre will have its own coach and participate in its own league meet in May but still will practice alongside Marion.

Jimmy Shipman will be coaching the Centre side of the group. Three golfers are from Centre — senior Anthony Potocnik, senior Karson Kroupa, and junior Daniel Rziha.

First-time golfers in their senior year from Marion are Landon Dye and Gavin Wasmuth.

Wasmuth is a dual-sport athlete who also will be part of the baseball team. Jordy Raymer from Marion will be the second duel-sport athlete on the team . He also runs track.

“This season I am excited to work with 11 golfers,” coach Max Venable said. “Our numbers are great to start the year, and we are returning a few players with some experience.

“We have a number of varsity and junior varsity meets this year. The season will hopefully end with one or more players as state qualifiers.”

The golf team will head to Salina on Thursday for its first meet of the season against Solomon.

Swim

Marion’s swim team is a four-school co-op — Marion, Centre, Peabody-Burns, and Hillsboro — with 11 returning letter winners from last year.

“I am very excited for this season,” coach MacKenzie Magee said. “We have a lot of girls returning as well as five freshman coming into the program.”

Strong returners who qualified for state are Lauryn Vogt from Hillsboro, Olivia Carlson from Centre, and Talia Jost from Hillsboro.

“The girls have some big individual and team goals this year and have come in working hard and ready to reach them,” Magee said. “If they continue to work hard and work together as a team, we will improve and enjoy the season, which always makes for a successful year.”

The season has kicked off with a home meet Thursday and a two-day meet over the weekend in Maize.

At the home meet Thursday, Marion took second place as a team, with several best times coming from more seasoned swimmers and great first swims from freshman.

Over the weekend in Maize, Carlson won a six-dive competition.

Lauryn Vogt from Hillsboro won both the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

“The team has a lot of determination,” Magee said, “and it will be exciting to see what we can achieve this season.”

The girls will be in Newton at 1p.m. Tuesday for their next meet.

Last modified March 28, 2024

 

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