Fremont High School won’t be lacking any firepower on its boys track team this season.
The Tigers, who open their season Saturday at the Concordia Indoor Invitational, return 12 state qualifiers from last year’s team that finished third in Class A. That group includes all-class gold medalists Lucas Arps (400 meters) and Wes Ferguson (800). Fremont is also coming off a Class A state championship in cross country where senior Jose Gonzalez, a multi-state track medalist, led the way.
“If we can keep everybody healthy and have some new faces help fill in the gaps, we should have a very strong track team,” Fremont coach Dave Sellon said.
The Tigers will take a full lineup to the opening meet in Seward.
“A lot of years — when the weather has been nice for us in the preseason — we have gone in ready to make a statement,” Sellon said. “But this year there are a lot of areas where we just need the chance to do the event. We’ll be in for the practice aspect of those events and see where we are at after that.”
The recent ice and snow hasn’t affected the distance runners too much, but it has been a hindrance in other events.
“Those distance guys are used to running outside all winter so they’ve been able to do what they normally do,” the FHS coach said. “The events like the pole vault and jumps — where there is a lot of technique work involved — is where we are lagging behind a bit, but hopefully this weather will clear up.”
Arps, a Nebraska Wesleyan recruit, will look to repeat in the 400 in his senior season.
“He has had a good winter,” Sellon said. “He is looking good and is our only true 400 guy right now. The rest are 100 and 200 guys that can move up.”
That group includes seniors Hunter Wallace, Ty Sookram, Daniel Godoy and CJ Diers.
Ferguson, Gonzalez and fellow senior Ben Schulz ran on the Tigers’ 3,200-meter relay team that finished second in Class A last spring.
Edmund England and Matthew Klein also have state track experience in distance events while another 12th-grader, Reed Johannsen, competed on the state champion cross country team.
“Our distance group had a great cross country season and they have had a good winter with a lot of returning state experience,” Sellon said. “All of them are good enough to score in the open 1,600 and 3,200 at any given meet.”
Ferguson and Gonzalez give the Tigers some options because of their versatility.
“We will bounce them around to keep them fresh,” Sellon said. “They won’t run one race too many times in a row and get stale. It is nice to have a duo like that. Wes can run anything from the 400 to the 1,600 while Jose can run the (400) all the way to the 3,200.”
Another area that the Tigers are blessed with a lot of depth is the throws. Senior Tate Moeller was fourth at state in the discus in 2018 while junior Keegan Menning and senior Jacob Donscheski also qualified. In the shot put, Spencer Fitz was 10th in Class A as a junior. Moeller has worked on his spin and is improving in the event while sophomore Boone Gray is one of several Tigers who show potential.
“We have some talent there,” Sellon said. “Once we get going, we have three guys capable of scoring in the discus and three capable of scoring in the shot.”
Senior Austin Everitt finished just out of the medals (ninth) in the long jump at state last year. He will also be the team’s top high hurdler.
“We’re glad to have him back and he’ll lead a younger crew in the hurdles,” Sellon said. “We think we have some guys there that can come up through the ranks during the season.”
Dylan Kor is the top returner in the triple jump, but Sellon is also enthusiastic about some younger jumpers.
“We have some freshmen guys who did the event in eighth-grade and they are excited to learn more about it,” he said.
Senior Ross McMahon could help the Tigers in various events. He qualified for state last year in the high jump and was a member of the victorious cross country squad. He is also a hurdler.
“Ross and Trevor Synovec worked out together all winter,” Sellon said about the team’s top two high jumpers. “We’re excited about those guys. Coach (Ben) Zuch will have a good group in that event.”
Jake Sellon, who won the Class A pole vault last spring, graduated in May, but Coach Sellon likes the potential of sophomore Mark Mendoza. Junior Mason Moore and freshman Drew Sellon are among the others that could make an impact.
The Tigers will host the Pat Murphy Invitational on April 12 and on May 1 will make the trek to Kearney for the Heartland Athletic Conference. The Bearcats, Lincoln Pius and Norfolk are new teams to the HAC this season.
“Points will be spread out more and will be harder to come by,” Sellon said. “It will be interesting to see how that 11-team dynamic changes things.”
The Tigers’ roster includes 28 seniors — a larger number than usual.
“We just have a track-minded group of guys in that class that take the sport seriously,” Sellon said. “I expect them to improve as the season goes along and I think they can accomplish good things.”