MFL MarMac hopes to build on success, contend for conference title

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Members of the MFL MarMac boys track and field team include (front, left to right) Izayah Streicher, Jacob Schellhorn, Carter Streicher, Rylee Kugel, Logan Ross, Carter Stoddard; (middle) Brandon Christofferson, Wyatt Powell, Karter Decker, Abe Hanson, Tucker Ruff, Carver Blietz-Bentien; (back) head coach Kyle Kirkestue, Josh Reichard, Aiden Schoulte, Caleb Nordheim, Cullen McShane, Callum Johnson, Hunter Kugel, Cody Moses, Cyrus Johnson and assistant coach Eric Koenig. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


The MFL MarMac boys track and field team qualified for the state meet in five events, and medaled in three of them, last season. Head coach Kyle Kirkestue said the goal is to meet—and even exceed—that success.


“Those guys going down to the state meet, it had a high retention rate this year and made the guys want to come back out. They’re hungry for more and want to get back down to the big blue oval and hopefully improve from tying for 15th place in Class 1A to seeing if we can crack the top 10 in Class 2A,” Kirkestue said. “We did bump up to Class 2A, so it’s going to be a lot tougher for us, times are a lot faster, but I definitely think the guys are up for that challenge.”


Twenty athletes make up the 2022 squad. A major strength will be in the sprint events, according to Kirkestue.


That’s highlighted by junior Karter Decker, who was a state qualifier in the 100 and 200 meter dashes (placing third in both) as well as the 400. Kirkestue said Decker will be a lock in the 100 and 200, but the 400 won’t be a priority individual race for him this season.


“It will be just to get some experience running the 400 so he can run the good anchor leg in the 800 sprint medley,” the coach explained.


Senior Cullen McShane, also a state qualifier in the 100, will be another key sprinter, both in the open 100 and in relays. 


Kirkestue said the two sprinters have a shot at qualifying for the Drake Relays. 


“It’s tough, but they’re talented, and if they really want to work for it [they can qualify],” he shared.


Additionally, two freshmen, Carter Stoddard and Carter Streicher, have been showing speed out of the gate as well. 


“They’re going to help us out a lot. We’ll have to see, as they progress, what their strongest races are,” Kirkestue noted.


Another top event will be the sprint medley relay, in which the Bulldogs earned a fifth place medal at state a year ago and continuously broke the school record. Although MFL MarMac graduated an important leg in Colin Moses, Kirkestue is confident another runner can step into that role. The other three runners, Decker, McShane and sophomore Wyatt Powell, all return.


“Hopefully we can get that relay back down to state,” he said.


Kirkestue is also excited to have a shuttle hurdle relay team for the first time in around a decade.


“They’re going to be young, but hopefully we can get those guys tuned up and see if they can make some noise for us,” he said.


In the distance events, MFL MarMac will rely on returning sophomores Carver Blietz-Bentien, Izayah Streicher and Brandon Christofferson. Freshman Jacob Schellhorn, a state cross country qualifier, is a welcome addition.


“He’ll definitely be able to put a good mile together for us, maybe a two mile. He’ll be a key guy on that 4x800 team as well,” Kirkestue said.


“We are still a little young with our distance runners, so they’ll get some experience this year and have to progress every meet,” he added. “That’s all I can hope for.”


The Bulldogs’ field events will be anchored by sophomore Josh Reichard. After showing continuous growth in shot put and discus a season ago, “he will hopefully take the next step this year and earn us some points,” Kirkestue said.


Overall, MFL MarMac has a good nucleus, the coach stressed. That should put the team in the running for the Upper Iowa Conference title.


“In MFL MarMac history, we’ve not won the conference in track. That’s the main goal this year,” Kirkestue said. “We’re probably not going to get a lot of firsts and seconds, but all those thirds and fourths are going to rack up, and that’s where points are earned. If we can squeak out wins here and there and get some double points in individual events, that’s going to help us a lot.”


The Bulldogs kicked off their season at the UIC indoor meet at Luther College on March 25. They’ll compete next at Waukon on March 31.


— — —


Bulldogs win three events at UIC indoor meet


The MFL MarMac boys track and field team won three events in the March 25 Upper Iowa Conference indoor meet at Luther College.


Karter Decker picked up where he left off last season, claiming the 55-meter dash title with a time of 6.35 seconds. Teammate Cullen McShane was right behind him in second place, running the race in 6.43.


McShane also found success in the field events, where a jump of 5 feet, 6 inches put him first in the high jump and a throw of 44 feet, 5.75 inches landed him second in the shot put.


Other top field competitors included Kaden Stocker, who was second in the high jump at 5 feet, 4 inches, and Josh Reichard, whose result of 42 feet, 10 inches was good for fourth in the shot. Carver Blietz-Bentien and Jacob Schellhorn were 11th and 14th, respectively, in the long jump.


Outside the 55 meter, the 400 was the best sprinting event for the Bulldogs, who saw third and fifth place finishes from Izayah Streicher and Callum Johnson. Streicher did it with a time of 58.6, while Johnson crossed the line at 59.37. Cyrus Johnson was MFL MarMac’s top finisher in the 200, with a time of 27.35 putting him ninth. Hunter Kugel came in 11th at 30.44 seconds.


In the distance events, Schellhorn ran to third place in the 1600 meter race, after turning in a time of 5:19.70. Cody Moses was sixth in the 3200, thanks to a 14:40.8 effort, while Izayah Streicher placed eighth in the 800 at 2:35.22.


The Bulldogs secured their third event victory in the 4x200 relay, and another group was seventh in the same race. The team also secured second place in the 4x800 and fifth in the distance medley.

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