The St. Ansgar Saints boys track and field team is coming off a great 2017 season under Head Coach Drew Clevenger. This will be Clevenger’s 18th season as the boys track and field coach for St. Ansgar.
Last year, the Saints had a season that will be remembered for quite some time. They finished the year as the Top of Iowa Conference champions and as the district champions.
“The conference title is always the number one goal for our team and our kids know that we have a long ways to go if we are going to make that happen,” said Head Coach Drew Clevenger. “I am encouraged by what I have seen in practice thus far.”
The numbers are big this year for the boys team. There are 37 on the roster with 11 returning letter winners and 10 seniors leading the way. Seniors on this years team are Theo Baldus, Matt Mattick, Josh Van Vliet, Gabe Walk, Dayton Smith, Joel Carlson, Eddie Sandoval-Mendoza, Bryan Schmidt, Uziel Garcia-Mendoza, and Armin Henkel.
“No matter the sport, our upperclassmen always do a great job of showing our younger kids how we do things,” said Clevenger. “The culture within our programs is strong because it is passed down over time. As a coach, that is really gratifying to see.”
Last season, the Saints qualified in eight events for the state meet and finished in 6th place in the final team standings when it was all said and done. There are no shortcuts to get back to the state meet or have that kind of success again this year. The kids have to come in and work hard towards their goals and Clevenger is liking what he has seen so far this early in the season.
“The kids have been doing a good job early in the season,” said Clevenger. “I have been pleased with the overall work ethic in the weight room and at practice.”
Last season, Cole Willert became the first Saint since 2002 to win a state championship. Willert won the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 53.61 seconds. The Saints that won a state championship in 2002 were Aaron Rustad, in the 400 meter dash and the 4×400 meter relay team of Rustad, Ross Hannam, Adam Mayer and Josh Holmes.
Saints that made the state meet last year and will be hoping to get back this season will be Theo Baldus, Collin Kramer and Ethan Kirchgatter.
St. Ansgar should have a good season. The numbers are tremendous for the Saints and their 10 seniors will be a big boost for leadership for the team. There are great things ahead for the St. Ansgar boys track and field team.