FOREST CITY — Four of the five runners on two relay teams that competed at last spring’s state track meet will be back on the running surface this season.
The team of Timmy Thompson, Richard Gildemeister, Tyler Anderson and Tanner Thompson finished 19th in the 4 x 100-meter relay at the state meet.
The 4 x 400-meter relay of Timmy Thompson, Gildemeister, Anderson and Brandon Finch finished in 20th place.
Anderson and Thompson are seniors, while Gildemeister is a junior and Finch a sophomore.
The team will have plenty of sprinters and will only be looking for one or two new faces to fill the short relays.
With 65 athletes out for track, 17 of the runners, jumpers and throwers have varsity experience.
“Of the 17 letter winners, I have five seniors,” said second- year head coach Brian Hovenga. “I have a great core of sophomores and juniors. That’s the bulk of our varsity.”
Throwers Colton Shipman and Kyle Brown, both juniors who scored points consistently last year, are back, and Hovenga feels the duo will continue their success.
“Our mid-distance and distance guys got baptized by fire last year,” said Hovenga. “I’m expecting good things from them this year. My distance guys were puppies last year. Now they’re going to run with the big dogs.”
Distance runners Caleb and Grady Hovenga, Noah Segerstrom, Ryan Theel and Brandon Finch all return with miles behind them.
Hovenga said the Indians will not have trouble filling events. Chuckling, he said, “No, with 65 the trouble we’re going to have is not filling events; the trouble is going to be getting somebody in events.”
Garner-Hayfield-Ventura along with Eagle Grove and Bishop Garrigan will be tough in the Top of Iowa Conference Western Division, according to Hovenga.
“GHV, of course, has the distance runners along with good sprinters,” he said. “Eagle Grove also has good distance runners, and I would never count out Bishop Garrigan.”
Forest City will host a couple of track meets this year, all at the Waldorf track. The first is scheduled for April 1.