• Last modified 1177 days ago (April 1, 2021)


MARION: Seniors lead young Marion track team

Staff writer

Marion High track is fielding a young team this year with only four out of 25 returning as seniors, but coach Grant Thierolf couldn’t ask for better team leaders.

Anne Baliel, Todd Palic, Abigail Stuchlik, and Burton Harshman qualified for state as sophomores and are determined to make another trip to Cessna Stadium this year.

“We are looking forward to a good season from all four of these young people,” he said.

Anne Baliel already has a state title under her belt and plans to defend it.

The Warrior pole vaulter shrugged off the heartache of a canceled season by setting her sights on higher crossbars and working harder to clear them, Thierolf said.

“She poured even more into it by trying to improve her fitness and her technique — and it will pay off,” he said.

The year off hasn’t hurt thrower Todd Palic, whom Thierolf said is “physically better than he was two years ago.”

Burton Harshman brings “a great deal of enthusiasm” to jumping and races.

Thierolf expects great things from Abigail Stuchlik in jumps and sprinting and appreciates the guidance she gives younger teammates.

“She’ll help all of the young kids learn how to get ready for a meet and how to prepare,” he said. “She has done a fantastic job that way.”

Getting the team back into shape after a year off was less of a problem than expected. The team’s upper classmen are experienced and only need a bit of fine tuning. The younger ones all started out on the same page.

Scoring may be a problem this year because the young Marion team doesn’t have as much depth as it has enjoyed in the past.

However, Thierolf hasn’t bothered to speculate who might compete well against Marion after a year without meets.

“This is going to be a blind year going in,” he said. “It’s going to be fun, I think, for everybody because everybody’s all going to be in the same boat.”

His focus is to help Marion track improve each week and remain patient when the going gets tough.

“I know we will continue to get better,” he said. “I think by the end of the year we will surprise ourselves with how far we have come.”

Last modified April 1, 2021