MASON CITY — In an ideal world, Mason City boys track and field coach Jed Vorba would have a huge number of kids to pick out to form the Mohawks’ track team. The reality this season is far from that.
Mason City will head into the start of its outdoor season Thursday at Waukee with just under 40 kids on the roster which presents a challenge for the longtime Mohawk coach Vorba, but it’s one the team will greet with open arms.
“The neat thing about us is we’ve always been able to reload and replace a big senior class, but we’ve done it with numbers,” said Vorba, who is in his 20th and final year of coaching the Mohawks. “We had 37 kids in practice (Tuesday) and that presents a problem, but I think the kids will be up for the challenge.”
After graduating 15 from a senior class, 11 of whom competed at last year’s state meet, filling holes will be a tough task.
Mason City returns 12 letterwinners, which include seven seniors, and Vorba said each should be integral into building toward this program’s ultimate goal every year – to be at its best in May.
“We’ve always been about two things here every year – being our best in May and improving all athletics at Mason City,” Vorba said.
Of the seniors, four come in with state-meet experience. Weston Schultz was a qualifier in the Class 4A discus last year, Kyle Younker was a member of the 4x200, 4x400 and medley relay teams and Thomas Rowe and Dylan Voves were on the medley relay as well.
Vorba said this year’s success starts with those guys and especially Rowe, who will be one of the cornerstones of the team in the distance events.
Vorba also said Younker, who is a three-year letterwinner, is going to have to do some more on his own this year after leaning on relay teammates in the past.
After those two it’s about getting kids, specifically Voves and Mac Skogen, who is still recovering from concussion problems from basketball, health by the time May rolls around.
“This may be a year where we don’t perform team-wise, but we will try to develop individuals better,” Vorba said. “Everything is going to be a surprise this year. We have to throw freshmen and sophomore on the spot but the leadership of the senior class is this team’s strength.”