Enormous numbers, especially in the freshmen class, and some key returning talent will lead the way for the Germantown track programs this spring.
The Warhawks, who will take part in the co-ed North Shore Conference Indoor meet at Homestead on Thursday, April 6, will be led by former Germantown boys coach and state champion relay runner Jared Foerch, who takes over co-coordinator duties from Greg Siegert, who stepped down after several successful seasons last spring.
Foerch, who has been on staff for several years, inherits a boys program that has an impressive 120 athletes out while the girls are a healthy 80 in number.
He finds the job to be both challenging and exciting.
"It is quite the challenge," he said. "Greg (Siegert) put into place a very good system, and I'm trying to mirror that. It's just hard to be in multiple places at once."
An advantage of the system, he said, is that by having only one official coach, it allows more budgetary leeway for more event coaches.
"It allows us to do things more efficiently, even with four schedules involved," he said.
Leading the way for the boys will be returning state long jump champion Shon Pratcher Jr., who has had a good start to his season despite battling a little bit of illness. Now All-Suburban football player Austin Mozdzen will also be back. Both were part of a state qualifying 4x100-meter relay team from last spring.
Others who look good so far include freshman sprinter Owen Schneider and sophomore sprinter Kyle Farina.
Foerch said the distance group will have strength in numbers, and the weights ought to be a source of strength this season, too, led by Cal Knapp and Zach Larsen.
"Overall, I think we have a good chance at developing some talent," Foerch said, "as soon as we can figure out the process behind the madness."
The Warhawks were fourth in the 13-team Whitefish Bay Wangerin Invite on March 21 with 50 points, while Brookfield East and Waukesha South tied for the team title with 72.
Pratcher won the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 6 .25 inches. Knapp won the shot put with a toss of 45-9, and Larsen was second at 43-1. The four-lap relay was third (1:21.33); Bryce Behrendt was the same in the high jump (5-8), as was Jacob Reiner in the 1,600 (5:00.23). The 4x800 relay was fifth (9:10.59), and Pratcher was sixth in the 200 (24.97).
For the girls, senior sprint relay ace Kenzie Schmitz will lead the way. She has been part of or anchored school-record 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams, including four state medal-winning teams in the last two years. The 4x400 team last season turned in a spectacular fourth-place effort of 3:53.31 at last June's state test in La Crosse.
Schmitz is coming off an all-state basketball season.
Other top relay returnees include Alyssa Goesch, Kennedy Runde and Tatum Gallenberger. Other people looked upon to help include freshman sprinter Melina Kopischkie and sophomore hurdler/long sprinter McKenna Klopfer. Erin Willard made state in the long jump last season, and others who might help include sophomore Sami Stieve and seniors Jennifer Lindgren and Molly Baus.
Foerch said the girls freshmen group is very deep and has great potential in multiple events.