Gladstone has depth, experience

Boys Track and Field

GLADSTONE — It appears numbers and experience won’t be a problem for the Gladstone boys as they enter this track season.

The Braves have 45 on their roster, including nine seniors and nine juniors, and open by hosting Thursday’s Delta County Invitational.

Among the senior returners is defending Upper Peninsula Division 1 pole vault champ Kyle McKenzie. Additional vaulters are classmate Tony Alexander, junior James Young and sophomore Nick Dawson.

McKenzie is also doing long jump where he’s joined by juniors Darin Johnson and Jeff Stenson, with senior Joe Gibbs in high jump.

The leaders in weight events are junior Jared Demeuse and sophomore Lew Paul.

“We have more kids out for weight events this year,” said coach Gary Whitmer.

“Our weight events kids are young, but have potential. We have some experience.”

Representing the Braves in the sprints are seniors Owen Carlson and Matt LeClaire, juniors Spencer Husbye and Mike Keeker and sophomore Thomas Thull, who may also be entered in weight events.

“Spencer has kind of been the leader in the sprints,” said Whitmer. “He has been working hard. We’re hoping Owen will take on some leadership. Thomas is a good athlete who has strong legs and some quickness.”

Whitmer says Gibbs wants to concentrate on the hurdles this season. He will be joined by junior James McKnight.

Middle distance leaders are senior Jake Wachholz and junior Trent Marenger and freshman Jared St. John.

Pacesetters in the longer distances include senior Connor Powell and sophomores Adam Bruce and Jake Strasler.

“We have an interesting mix,” said Whitmer. “We have some kids who are probably going to surprise us. We also have some kids who are willing to work, but we’re looking for other kids to step up in different events. Overall, we’re kind of an unknown quantity. The nice thing is we have some potential.”

The Braves, who passed on Tuesday’s Marquette Invitational at the Superior Dome, were planning to run an intra-squad meet Thursday. The intra-squad event, however, was likely postponed due to inclement weather.

“We haven’t been outside that long,” said Whitmer. “That would help determine who’s going to be in which event.”

Sharing the coaching duties are assistants Kent King, who’s working with weight events, and Casey Young (pole vault).

The schedule:

April 27 — Delta County Invitational.

May 2 — at Iron Mountain; May 5 — jayvees at Escanaba; May 9 — at Iron Mountain; May 12 — Gladstone Night meet; May 19 — D-1 regional at Escanaba; May 23 — jayvees at Menominee; May 25 — GNC meet at Menominee.

June 3 — U.P. Finals at Kingsford.­­