New Warrior boys track and field coach has high expectations

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Members of the Central boys track and field team include (front, left to right) Logan Sharpe, Carter Krugger, Jack Scherf, Gavin Holst; (middle) Sam Fettkether, Kale Doeppke, Ryan Schroeder, Vaughn Zittergruen, Dan McGreal, Maddux Eglseder; (back) coach Colten Ledbeter, Corey Weber, Brayden Finley, Evan Schroeder, Sean Wilwert, William Moser and coach Tyler Bazyn. (Photo courtesy of Blaker Photography)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central boys track and field team will be led by a new but familiar face among the school’s sports programs, as Colten Ledbeter takes the helm as coach. 


Ledbeter, who has been coaching since 2015 in numerous paid and volunteer roles, noticed the position was open. With previous experience coaching track and field along with football, wrestling and gymnastics, he believed he could do the job. 


He also wanted to create a sense of certainty for the athletes because the position was still unfilled as the season approached, which would impact practice and the ability to prepare. 


“I had previously coached track and field and really enjoyed doing so and planned on helping out anyway if I wasn’t hired for the position,” Ledbeter said. “Being that I have coached track previously, I feel very prepared for the season and how I want practices to run and progress.” 


Ledbeter is motivated by the excitement each athlete experiences when they’re successful, whether that means winning or simply improving. He also recognized the differences in coaching track and field as opposed to football—namely, how individual the sport is. 


“It is more of a competition against yourself than anyone else,” Ledbeter explained. 


In this respect, Ledbeter keeps track of each athlete’s best performances, with the goal of improving each week. He also expects the team to be competitive at each meet, with the long-term goal of qualifying as many athletes as possible to state. 


This expectation stems from the size of the team, at 15 athletes, many of whom already have experience and leadership qualities. 


Of the 15, five are seniors who are expected to mentor the six freshmen as well as the remaining sophomores and juniors. Ledbeter believes this mix of athletes gives the Warriors the ability to compete now and prepare for the future. 


“Success for us this year will be defined by our athletes improving throughout the season. If they get better in each meet than they did previously, then they would have had success this season,” Ledbeter said. 


However, finding success comes with a few challenges. One of them is what Ledbeter described as “similar strengthed athletes.” This means the team’s composition of a few sprinters, a few distance runners and a few hurdlers makes it difficult to create competitive relay teams. 


The other challenge is the lack of a track at Central for practices. While Ledbeter stated this is not a new problem and the school has had success in the past despite the lack of a track, he acknowledged “it is a big advantage other teams have over [Central].” 


Having a track, according to Ledbeter, would help teach the athletes lane assignments and exchange zones, as well as potentially decrease injuries like shin splints and stress fractures. 


A track to practice on would also help the athletes “mentally prepare for meets by practicing in the same environment as they are competing,” Ledbeter added. 


Regardless, Ledbeter is not shy about expressing confident expectations, especially in certain disciplines, including short- and mid-distance races and throwing events. That confidence was rewarded during the Warriors’ first meet of the season, where they scored eight points as a team and finished eighth out of 11 schools. 


“Everyone did either as good as I had hoped or better than I had hoped for our first meet,” Ledbeter said. 


The Warriors sent out a couple freshmen, Maddux Eglseder and Vaughn Zittergruen, in the 800 meter run, where they finished 13th and 14th, respectively. Freshman Jack Scherf finished 14th in the 1600. 


Senior Evan Schroeder led the Warriors in the field events with a top-10 finish in the shot put, coming in ninth with a throw of 34 feet, 11 inches. Freshman Logan Sharpe was the team’s highest finisher in the long jump in 13th place, with a distance of 16 feet, 11 inches. 


As for the relays, the Warriors finished sixth in the 4x200 and 4x400 and fifth in the 4x800. 


“This was our first meet of the year, so this is the baseline we will compare other meets to,” Ledbeter said. “Thanks to our upperclassmens’ help and experience, all of our athletes were in the correct places and checked on for events correctly, and for the first meet of the year that is good to see.” 

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