Collins-Maxwell/Baxter spring sports teams head into 2014 with optimism. The Raider track teams return state qualifiers to lead the squads. The Raider girls’ soccer team has experience back on the field to help improve on a 3-11 mark from a year ago.
The CMB track teams competed in several indoor meets in March. They competed in a shortened “early bird” outdoor meet Monday at Jefferson Monday. Next week, the track teams and soccer squad get things going strong.
The Raider boys have 52 on their 2014 roster, which includes all of the team’s state track meet qualifiers from 2013. Senior Zach Samson is the defending state champion in shot put and junior Bryce Kemp is the defending state champion in the 110-meter high hurdles.
“It is still very early, but we are very pleased with the effort sand attitude of our guys so far this year,” said Neil Seales, who is in his 39th season as head coach for the boys at Baxter/CMB. “We are hopeful, with continued work, to become a competitive team in 2014.”
Seales is assisted by coaches Josh Russell, Wes Stover and Mike Mullihan.
Along with Samson and Kemp, the Raiders have juniors Patrick Girard and Clayton Weltha, seniors Austin Moorman and Jordan Coughenour and junior Joey Nissen back as state qualifiers. Kemp qualified in the hurdles, the long jump and 200-meter dash. Samson and Girard competed in the shot put and Samson and Weltha competed in the discus. Moorman, Nissen, Coughenour and Kemp were on the shuttle hurdle relay team.
Others on the team are seniors Zach Huffaker, Austin O’Conner, Gabe Schabillion, Jacob Stratton; juniors Seth Balke, Trae Brooke, Drake Caple, Kyle Cather, Hunter Clement, Mark Deutsch, Jon Engle, Nick Littell, Mac Pohlman, Colin Thomson; sophomroes Joseph Beinfang, Nate Bishop, Bailey Holgate, Brandon Brunner, Ethan Cozard, Spencer Gauch, Hunter Gunderson, Lane Howes, Brad Ritter, Brady Stover, Dylan Williams; and freshmen Evan Bianchi, Dalton Birchmier, Creighton Capel, Noah Cather, Jack Cheville, Blake Coughenour, Ben Gunderson, Eric Hall-Floden, Jason Hilgren, Curtis Jones, Brady Kemp, Tucker Maxwell, Archie McFadden, Hunter McWhirter, John Newton, Brady Ross, Toren Schultheis, Zach Schafer, Dylan Stepp.
Field events and sprints should be the strong suits for the 2014 CMB girls’ track team.
Senior Abbie Haupert qualified the past two years in the discus and had the team’s best throw of 112 feet, 10 inches in the event last year. Sophomore Bridget Hurley qualified for state in the 400-meter dash. Haupert and Hurley were members of the 4x400-meter relay that qualified for the state meet last year.
CMB had a 4x800-meter relay team qualify for state a year ago. Junior Mackenzie Schmitz, who was a state qualifier as a freshman, is back for the Raiders from a knee injury that kept her from competing last season. She qualified in the 200 meters and on the 4x400-meter relay in 2012.
“This team is a lot different than the 2013 team. We have some great athletes in the sprint department and some great field event girls returning,” said Jerry Meinerts, CMB girls’ head coach, who is in his seventh season guiding the Raider girls.
“I look for us to run some really good 100-200-400 times this season. We also have some really good freshmen that will fit right in with our field events.”
Meinerts said he expects the Raiders to fit together relay teams which will put up some good times this season as well. He said the distance athletes should be able to score the Raiders points in the 1,500 and 3,000 meter races.
Other members of the CMB girls’ team are seniors Patience Engle, Jessica Hiney, Jenna Lewis, Taylor Ross, Stephanie Struthers, Jennifer Swalwell; juniors Chantel Maxwell, Maddy Poage, Hannah Ranczka, Sara Rogers; sophomores Nichole Davies, Kennedy Guilling, Rylee Hodge, Elizabeth Jones, Payge Jurgens, Carter Larson, Chasity Moody, Jayden Murphy, Toni Spencer, Stephanie Twohey; and freshmen Kathleen Baldwin, Winter Brown, Veronica Condon, Mikayla Eslinger, Valerie Gregory, Aly Holsinger, Heather Jessen, Bekah Pearson, Megan Ritter, Nicole Ross, Mercedes Samson, Sydney Zeisman.
“We will need to continue to improve each practice and the new members have to step in and fill in on some of the key positions,” said Gary Cummings, Raider head coach. Cummings is assisted by Zach Hasselbrink.
“We’re excited to see how the team comes together this season. We have 11 returning letterwinners and seven are returning starters,” Cummings said. “We lost three defenders from last year’s team, so we have to have some of our new members step in right away and be ready. This will be key to our success.”
Minding the goal for the Raiders will be All-Heart of Iowa Conference first-team selection Lexi Breon, a junior. Senior Taylor Duloney is a forward who earned second team all- conference honors and senior Katie Ziesman was a conference honorable mention selection as a mid-fielder.
Also back are seniors Mackenzie Klemme and Virginia Sposeto as mid-fielders and senior Hannah McWhiter as a defender; junior defender Katherine Hodge; and sophomore forward Cassandra Bianchi. Key additions are junior Tabitha Halferty and freshman Emily Coughenour.
The Raiders open the season April 8 at South Tama.