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State medal winners returning for Eagle track and field teams

Mar. 18—PELLA — This spring is shaping up to be an impressive one for the Pella Christian track and field teams as they both return squads led by medal winners from a year ago.

Starting on the boys side, the Eagles lose seven seniors from a year ago but return 10 letterwinners. Highlighting that group is senior thrower Trevor Veenstra. Veenstra, who is Drake Relays qualifier and defending Class 2A state champion in the discus, is in store for another big season. The senior signed on to continue his throwing career at D1 Liberty next year and will look to end his high school career on a high note this spring. Caleb Volk and Johnson Morgan also both have a chance to show well in the field in the long jump.

On the track side, senior Noah Nunnikhoven is back with state experience in several events and will be a key leader in the sprinting events and the short relays. As for the distance events, sophomore Sawyer Meinders helped lead the Eagles to strong cross country season and will look to do the same with a good group of distance runners on the track. Keep an eye on Tysen De Vries as he joins the track team for the first time this season. He had a good cross country season but also has the quickness to make an impact in the shorter races as well.

"We have a lot of returning athletes and several with state qualifying experience," Pella Christian head coach Keith Anderson said of his boys team. "Trevor Veenstra is someone to watch out for in the shot put and discus as he has already qualified for the Drake Relays in the shot put. As far as weaknesses, we don't have a lot of experience in some of the hurdle events or field events. It will be tough to score a lot of points in some meets with empty spots in some events."

On the girls side, the Eagles only lose three seniors from a year ago while welcoming back a strong group of 12 girls that took fifth place as a team at state in 2023.

The sprinters are a huge highlight returning for the PC girls with the likes of sophomores Meredith Van Wyk and Bailey Vos. Van Wyk collected three medals last year at state taking third in the 200, sixth in the 100 and second in the sprint medley. Vos anchored that sprint medley and also added a second in the 400, 16th in the 800 and 14th in the 4x100.

The Eagles will also return the other key pieces in those sprint relays with sophomores Amaia Agre and Josie Settles both back as well. The short and medium distance races should have another strong year for Pella Christian.

The girls also welcome a couple of intriguing newcomers with juniors Chloe Huisman, Esther Ford and Claire Westerkamp all going out for track for the first time while freshman Rachel Kacmarynski is expected to be a key contributor in several relays.

"We also have several athletes with state qualifying experience," Anderson said of the girls. "This will serve these athletes well as they progress through the season and lead the underclassmen. Our weakness on the girls side will be our numbers in the distance events. We'll struggle to fill some longer relays. The girls will also struggle to fill every event in most meets, so it will be hard to score a lot of points some nights."

For both teams it might be a case of quality over quantity as the groups they send out will be competing at a high level but some events might get left open due to numbers that could hurt their team score overall. In the end, expect the Eagles to have several competing for medals at the Blue Oval.

"Overall, I feel this is one of the stronger teams that I have been able to coach," Anderson said. "I fully expect Pella Christian to be represented well at both The Drake Relays and at the 2A State Track Meet in May."

Colin Peters can be reached at 641-672-2581, by email at cpeters@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @ColinPetersOH.