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Roncalli track and field athletes looking forward to upcoming season

Aberdeen Roncalli boys compete in the sprint medley relay Monday at the Northern State Relays at the Barnett Center. From the left: Zach Behrends waits on Zeezrom Mounga while Paul Gutenkauf takes the baton from Bryce Falken and Garrett Griffin takes the baton from Austin Meyers. Photo by John Davis taken 3/29/3021

It’s been a long time coming and the Aberdeen Roncalli track and field teams are ready to bolt out of the blocks.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” said Roncalli Coach Mark Stone. “Missing last year makes it even more fun to come back and do it again.”

After a year-long break due to COVID, the Cavaliers are anxious to get back to competing this spring. The Roncalli girls will be looking to add on to an already stellar school year, which included winning the school’s first ever State A girls’ basketball championship last month.

“If you look at our teams on the girls’ side, they were very successful in the fall in cross country and volleyball. They were successful in the winter obviously in basketball. When success happens in the school system it tends to find its way into all the activities,” Stone said. “There’s just so much good that comes from being successful. We anticipate a lot of that energy and attitude and enthusiasm will find its way to track, also.”

The Cavaliers will be led by junior Morgan Fiedler, who is no stranger to success.

“Morgan has proven herself as an athlete in soccer, and basketball, and in track and field. She’s been successful at a high level in all three of those,” Stone said. “She’ll be one of our leaders by example this year. We have so many good hard working kids. Morgan provides a lot of past and previous experience and success to our girls’ side, there’s no question about that.”

Roncalli also figures to be strong in the distance events as well behind the likes of Anna Schmidt and Paige Schmidt, who had a strong cross country season last fall.

“We feel like our distance runners are going to provide a big boost for us. They’ve proven themselves and they had a successful season in cross country,” Stone said. “A lot of those girls put some time in over the winter and some miles and look really good this spring. That’s going to translate probably into some of our relays. We’re counting on our distance girls to be one of our cornerstones.”

Meanwhile, the boys’ side will feature a blend of experience and youth, according to Stone.

One of the individuals the Cavaliers will rely on is sophomore Maddox May, who Stone says feels like should be an upperclassman because he’s been a part of the equation for a while.

“He’s going to have a good year. He’s a little dinged up right now,” Stone said. “We’re going to be a little careful with him. We don’t think it’s anything serious. We don’t think it’s a big deal, but we’re going to be careful with Maddox.”

Stone is excited about the potential of his boys’ team because it appears the guys will be able to score points in a variety of events.

“We’ve got some throwers that look pretty good so far. We’ve got some jumpers that are doing great. We think we’re going to mold out some of our relays that are going to look pretty good,” Stone said. ‘It might be names that people aren’t so familiar with and we’re pretty excited about that. On the guys’ side we’re looking good in a number of areas right now.”

The Cavaliers are a bit ahead of schedule in their training for a couple of reasons. For starters, the weather has been nearly ideal for track and field. Second, Roncalli is able to utilize some of its new track and field practice area behind the school.

“We are so fortunate and so blessed to be able to practice on our campus,” Stone said. “Most of our field event areas are done and we’re using them. For the most part we practice right on our campus. We’re not spending time trying to get somewhere so we’re more efficient. That’s been a tremendous blessing.”

This year’s state qualifying has changed from year’s past. Stone said it resembles more of the Class AA format where the top 24 times and distances in the state automatically qualify. Time will tell how that impacts the Cavaliers. Stone said it’s a bit too early to start thinking about the conference and region meets.

“We’ll talk about them eventually. Those are sort of an unspoken thing,” Stone said. “We make a real effort to try to win the conference meet and the region meet.”

For now, Stone, his staff and athletes are just thrilled to be back in action after a year off. The Cavaliers start their outdoor season Tuesday in Ipswich.

“I just appreciate the opportunity to continue to be a part of the program and work with the kids that we’ve got and our coaching staff,” Stone said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

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