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.
POLK – Talent. Experience. Straight up speed.
High Plains Storm boys’ track coach Steve Meyer would’ve had it all for the 2020 campaign that is currently up in the air.
Last Monday, 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.
Should the season continue, the High Plains boys have a talented team led by three seniors and one speedy junior.
The three seniors are Dylan Soule, Jarrett Parsons and Keaton Van Housen, while the junior is Tanner Wood.
Soule, a dynamic Chadron State College track commit, placed third in the discus at the Class D state meet last year with a mark of 145 feet, 7 inches and also qualified for the 300-meter hurdles. Soule has the best returning discus throw in the York News-Times’ area of 150-9 and the top time in the 300 hurdles with 41.96 seconds.
Soule isn’t just a thrower, though. He can also run well and was a member of the Storm’s 400 relay that took third at state in 2019 with a time of 44.88 seconds. Parsons and Wood were members of that relay, too. Van Housen, if healthy, could be an option for the team as well.
Parsons is fast, too, but his main event is the pole vault, where he finished runner-up at state last year with a clear of 13-10. Parsons is committed to pole vault for the University of Nebraska-Kearney track team.
“We have a talented and experienced senior class,” Meyer said. “They’ve had so much success in track and the coaching staff expects that for their senior year. Many of our freshmen and sophomores are inexperienced and as the season progresses, we hope they’ll be able to help this group of seniors in scoring some points at the meets.”
Van Housen, a talented runner himself and a UNK football commit, was injured for much of the 2019 track season, but still has the fastest 100 time in the area from last year with an 11.3.
“We always have expectations for our athletes. This year is no exception,” Meyer said of his expectations. “We want them to improve as the season goes along. If you improve, then a lot of the other things will follow. Just have a great attitude every day in practice and go to the meets with the expectation to do your best so you can help yourself and the team any way you can.”
Another junior that was expected to contribute was Jakob Hogan, an 800 and relay runner. Five sophomores are on the team, including Trevor Carlstrom, Javier Marino, Cole Swanson, Lane Urkoski and Caleb Swedenburg.
Carlstrom will compete in the sprints, long jump and relays while Marino will be a middle-distance and relay runner. Swanson was slated to high jump and maybe some relays. Urkoski was tabbed as a sprinter and middle-distance runner.
“We need our younger athletes to score some points at meets and find some success in their events,” Meyer said. “We have some capable athletes but whether or not they can rise to that challenge is yet to be seen.”