Central’s young boys track and field team should show weekly improvement

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The Central boys track and field team includes (front, left to right) Braden Taylor, Kyle Reinhart, Henry Reimer, Collin Jaster, Max Fettkether, Preston Kulper, Carson Ruegnitz, Michael White, Braxton Bormann, Isaac Loan; (back) coach Colten Ledbeter, Declan Finley, Gavin Holst, Elliot Kelly, Vaughan Zittergruen, Tate Berns, Jacob Cook, Carter Krugger and Bryce Heller. (Photo courtesy of Blaker Photography)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


In season two as coach for Central’s boys track and field team, Colten Ledbeter isn’t making a lot of changes to the routine, practices or schedule, but there is a heightened level of expectation, namely in qualifying someone for the state meet. 


Ledbeter will lead a team of 19 athletes, which is “more than the school has had in awhile,” as Ledbeter put it. It’s a team that is evenly split between the disciplines of short distance, long distance and throwers, making it easier to fill out events, gain experience and potentially add points to the team score. 


But it’s also a very young team, made up of mostly freshman, which is a departure from last year’s squad, which was top heavy with seniors. This means the Warriors lack some track and field experience, but what they lack Ledbeter looks to overcome with his own improved experience as a coach, as well as improved knowledge of the athletes. 


“I know my athletes better this year and will be able to place them in the best events sooner this year,” Ledbeter said. 


Among the leaders Ledbeter will lean on are senior Elliot Kelly, who returns to the sport after recovering from a torn ACL last year. Kelly heads a group of sprinters including Jacob Cook, Kyle Reinhart, Braxton Bormann, Collin Jaster, Preston Kulper and Isaac Loan. 


When it comes to the distance runners, Central will be led by sophomore Gavin Holst, who is coming into this season with “big goals” after a solid freshman outing. Tate Berns, Carter Kruger, Vaughn Zittergruen, Declan Finley, Bryce Heller, Henry Reimer and Michael White round out the distance group. 


The throwing events will be headlined by junior Ryan Schroeder, who “showed a lot of improvement last season and plans on showing how much he has continued to grow since last season,” said Ledbeter. 


Joining Schroeder are Carson Ruegnitz, Braden Taylor and Max Fettkether. 


Success for the athletes will be measured by how much they improve. 


“Success for our team will be shown with incremental improvements. If everyone on the team improves, then it will be a successful season,” Ledbeter said. 


While the season offers an abundance of hope and possibility, it is not without challenges, specifically the lack of a track for practice, something Ledbeter made a point to note. If success hinges on improvements, those improvements are made difficult due to this challenge. As Ledbeter stated, not having a track “is a big advantage other teams have over us.”


“It would help teach lane assignments, exchange zones, help with learning end of race kick actions, decrease injuries such as shin splints or stress fractures and help mentally prepare for meets by practicing in the same environment as they are competing,” Ledbeter added. 


It’s a set of challenges Ledbeter will look to overcome with the help of his coaching staff, which includes returning members Tyler Bazyn, who coaches throwers, and principal Aaron Reinhart, who coaches sprinters and hurdlers, and new addition Tim Ruppard, who helps out with the distance runners.

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