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Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Boys track team utilizes underclassmen for season success

Coming off a successful season that was senior-heavy is a difficult adjustment. For the Yutan boys track and field team, though, the surplus of leadership and athleticism on the team makes transitioning into the new season less difficult.

Senior Derek Wacker begins to throw a disc at a 2023 meet. Last year, Wacker placed 5th in disc at the state track meet. (Courtesy Photo)

“I think we have a great chance with this team. The new people we have coming up, we have a good chance at state and winning meets,” senior Joey Benjamin said. “Every other team seems to have gotten slower, and I think that we’ve gotten faster.”

With only a few seniors on the team this year, the group has to depend on younger athletes to step up.
“We had a few more seniors last year, at least on the boys side,” head coach Dan Krajicek said. “This year we only have four seniors, so we have to rely on a lot more younger guys to score points for us.”
With relying on younger athletes, junior AJ Arensberg decided to step up and take on a leadership role this year.
“I’m an upperclassman now, so I guess that means people kind of look up to me,” Arensberg said. “I plan to just lead by example and work hard. Hopefully, everyone else will follow.”
Not only do the younger athletes have to step up, but this year’s seniors have to fill in spots left by graduated seniors.
“Just like other sports, I plan to lead by example,” senior Derek Wacker said. “Still have fun though because that’s what track is all about and approach with a light-hearted attitude. Not being a stickler because it can really affect how much effort people put into practices and meets.”

Junior AJ Arensberg competes at a 2023 track meet. Arensberg qualified in the 800-meter dash at last year’s state track meet. (Bella Tederman)

Although there are changes to the team’s make-up, there is one thing that stays the same every year: the team goals.

“The goals don’t really change for the kids. Always get PRs and get better than they were the day before. We want to win as many meets as we can and qualify as many to state as we can,” Krajicek said. “But really as long as they’re getting PRs and kids are getting better, that’s all I care about.”
The athletes hope the consistency of direction will continue to lead the team to success.
“We have good coaches. They know exactly what they’re doing and the success we’ve had in the past is because of them,” Wacker said. “I plan to just keep trusting what they’ve been giving us and what we do at practice and at meets.”
Not only do the athletes need to put their trust in each other, but they also need to work hard in order to achieve their goals.
“Just putting in all the work at practice,” Benjamin said. “They’re short, so everyone’s going to have to put in full effort during practice.”
With the high expectations for this season, the athletes are looking forward to what they can accomplish.
“I’m very excited,” Arensberg said. “I love running track, and I think there’s a lot of fun people in track this year. I think it’s going to be a great season.”

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About the Contributors
Mckenna Jones
Mckenna Jones, Junior writer
Mckenna Jones is a junior and in her third year of journalism. She enjoys writing entertainment reviews, sports stories and taking photos. Outside journalism, Mckenna is involved in volleyball, track, NHS and FCA.
Bella Tederman
Bella Tederman, Senior writer
Bella Tederman is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys writing stories and taking pictures. Outside journalism, Bella is involved in volleyball, CrossFit, powerlifting, track, speech, FBLA, FCA and NHS.
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