MASON CITY – One word that circulates throughout the Mason City boys track and field program is building.
Head coach Tyler Ketelsen espouses the philosophy of building better overall athletes through the conditioning of track and field.
One thing that is clear is that students are beginning to buy into the concept.
“Our numbers are pushing 50 this year after being in the low 30s last year,” Ketelsen said. “We are generally still a young and inexperienced team, but we were within two seconds of qualifying seven events for state a season ago.”
Ketelsen has a number of veterans to serve as the foundation for the building project.
Michael Rowe, a senior and two-time qualifier for the state cross country championships, will anchor a talented middle and long distance group.
Rowe, who also has qualified for the state meet in swimming, was within one-half second of making the field in the 3,200 and has posted solid times in both the 1,600 and the 800.
Joey Quintero, another senior, returns after taking the CIML Iowa Conference title in the long jump as a junior.
Quintero is another versatile athlete who will figure heavily in the relays, sprints and hurdles.
A trio of juniors – Luke Mulholland, Ethan Malek and Migual Jaime – also bring back varsity experience while sophomore Christian Rodriguez, who set a freshman school record in the 400 hurdles last season, figures to move around quite a bit in meets.
One area where Ketelsen figures to have some depth is in the throws as he returns Kade Kloster-Hodak, JD Ward and Ricky DeRoos.
Ward and DeRoos are both juniors.
A number of sophomores and a few freshmen should help Ketelsen round out the meet lineups.
After a month of practice and a couple of indoor meets, Ketelsen has been pleased with the early progress.
“We are already ahead of where we were last year,” Ketelsen said. “We have a renewed focus on our strength training this season. I am excited to get on our track but realize we may have a few more weeks before that can happen.”
For Ketelsen and the Mohawks, the building project is slated to take a major step when the Mohawks transition to the outdoor season with a scheduled meet on March 26 at Nevada.