Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON - Washington boys track coach Steve Roth starts his 45th year and there is no doubt the 44th year was the worst when the coronavirus pandemic caused a cancellation of the season.
'I'm hoping it doesn't affect this season at all,” Roth said. 'All other sports have made it though, so we just have to stress the protocols we have put in place.”
Something that will affect the season is a new team in the Southeast Conference. Other sports are in the second year of dealing with Burlington as the sixth league member but for the spring sports, the Grayhounds are ‘new.'
'Adding Burlington will definitely help balance out the conference,” Roth said.
The Washington girls' team is 'extremely young” this year with most of the team being freshmen and sophomores. The Demons have no returning state qualifiers and missing last year 'makes it hard to know what we truly have this year,” girls coach Stefanie Haworth said.
The Demon boys will have a strong core of sprinters, the Southeast Conference cross-country champion in Lance Sobaski for distance with the field events anchored by Kael Adam, Reece Mayer and Spencer Sotelo.
'It is tough to say who the Southeast Conference leader will be since there was no season last year,” Haworth said. 'We are just so young I don't know where everyone is going to fit into the puzzle yet.”
There are five senior girls - Sydney Cuddeback, Sophia Kleese, Olivia Marek, Hannah Rees, Cloe Telleen - for the Demons that Haworth will count on.
'They have been great leaders for us and I expect that to continue on the track once meets start,” Haworth said. 'They are extremely hard working, and have put in time in the offseason, so I expect that to pay off throughout the season.”
Washington had a strong cross-country team, so Haworth expects distance events to be successful. Grace Voss, Hannah Rees, Telleen and newcomer Iris Peterson should excel.
'We haven't had much time to see what our main strength will be this year, but we should have girls in all areas that do well against the conference,” Haworth said.
Molly Klinzman (sprints/hurdles), Marek (hurdles), Taylor Bartholomew, Kleese and Abby Kleese will be sprinting. The Demons haven't had time to work on field events yet so they are an unknown.
'I expect a lot of improvement as the season goes on and we figure out who goes where and what is going to work best for the team,” Haworth said. 'The kids are working hard and willing to run whatever we ask, so it should be a fun season.”
Jacob Miller, Spencer Sotelo, Wyatt Stout, Evan Miller and Ethan Zieglowsky are a few that Roth will be counting on, 'big time,” he said. 'Sobaski is going to make a lot of noise this year. Ethan should do well in the 110-meter high hurdles.”
Roth said there is a 'great chance to take some events from sprints, distance and field events” to the state meet.
Especially since there is a special cause to motivate his team. 'We will really miss those seniors from last year! We are running for them,” Roth said.