EDITOR’S NOTE: On Monday, March 16, the Nebraska School Activities Association suspended all activity practices until March 30 and all activity competitions until April 2 due to COVID-19.
These suspensions may be extended should the conditions warrant.
Until an official decision has been made in regards to spring sports, the York News-Times sports department will be running its spring sports previews for girls and boys track and soccer, as well as boys golf and girls tennis, in the daily sports section.
MCCOOL JUNCTION – Four McCool Junction boys made the state track meet last year in Omaha, and three of them return for the 2020 season.
Juniors Tyler Neville and Owen McDonald, along with senior Dana Hobbs, lead the Mustangs into the track season, which is currently up in the air.
Last week, the Nebraska School Activities Association suspended all activity practices until March 30 and all activity competitions until April 2 due to COVID-19. Those suspensions may be extended should conditions warrant.
If the season does pick back up, McCool Junction head coach Jeff Germer and assistants Ryan Underwood and Scott Yates have some talented options to play with. That group is led by the versatile Neville, who qualified for state in four events last year – the 3200- and 1600-meter runs, the pole vault and as a member of the 1600 relay, as was McDonald and Hobbs.
Neville wound up placing sixth in the 1600 with a time of 4 minutes, 44.39 seconds. The 1600 relay placed eighth with a time of 3:37.2, which is the fastest returning time in the York News-Times’ coverage area.
“The boys team will have some depth with a handful of athletes at the state level,” Germer said. “So we should be competitive at both local and state levels.”
Neville, who owns the second-fastest returning 3200 time (10:39.03) in the area, will stick with the pole vault and distance runs this season while McDonald will be a sprinter. Hobbs will pole vault, too, along with running hurdles and sprints. At the state meet last year, both Neville and Hobbs cleared 12 feet in the pole vault and tied for 14th.
Joining the Neville-McDonald-Hobbs trio is another Mustang who will likely make some consistent noise in his events – junior Kaden Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick, who just missed out at qualifying for the state meet last year in both throws, has the area’s best returning shot toss at 47 feet, 5 inches. He has the second-best discus throw, too, at 140-3.
“We’ll have good balance across most of the track events, as well as many of the field events,” Germer said.
A couple sophomores – Jacob Brugger and Cainan Lovan – and freshman Ian Stuhr will be able to contribute right away, too.
Brugger and Stuhr will compete in the distance runs while Lovan will do jumps and sprints.
“Some of the younger athletes will need to be ready to step up to compete at the conference and state level,” Germer said. “We should have strong depth this year, but could more accurately be described as balance. Youngsters will contribute right away.”