WEBSTER CITY - People who live in the past don't have much of a future.
It's an old quote, but one that Tony Bussan has brought out in an effort to motivate his Webster City boys' track team as it prepares for the 2013 season.
Look, nobody relishes in last year's accomplishments more than Bussan. He guided the Lynx to a Class 3A state runner-up result and celebrated three gold-medal runs. But the fact is a large portion of the points registered at Drake Stadium in Des Moines last May are no longer a part of the team because of graduation.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Members of the Webster City boys’ track team include (front row, left to right) Cody Sleiter, Nelson Ball, Rylee Lawson, Toby Tankai, Corey Keenan, Shane Gilman, Dominic Khaleet, Jorden Leeper, David McMurray, (second row) Daniel Turner, Adam McMurray, Kyle Anderson, Cody Blair, Fernando Martinez, Brad Wagner, Gilbert Martinez, Jason McVicker, Jordan Moen, Christopher Turpen, Victor Jergens, (third row) manager Crena Mallinger, Antrez Conley, Cooper Jaycox, Ben Mossman, Tyler Lockwood, Colt Richardson, Gavin Dinsdale, Cameron Gordon, Ryan Heinrichs, Cameron Ausenhus, (back row) Eric Coleman, Jacob Clabaugh, Nick Thilges, Ethan Glenn, Boone Myers, Lucas Poland, Brandon Arkland, Tanner Hoveland, Cal Zahn and Nathan Nuehring. Team members not pictured include Cole Zahn, Camden Lawrence, Kenton Johnston and manager Kelsey Mallinger.
"It's a great memory for all of us to have together and a lot of the kids we have back on this team were a part of that, including a number of them that were (state) qualifiers or alternates," Bussan said. "But the seniors that graduated last year certainly had a number of special talents. So I'm not going to dwell on the past, but I am going to treasure it."
Replacing state champion sprinter Keagan Parks - he won the 100- and 200-meter dashes, anchored the 4x100 to glory and placed fourth in the long jump - will be impossible. The same goes for Andrew May, who ran the second leg of the 4x100 and finished second in the 110 high hurdles, and Nick Erritt, the fourth-place finisher in the shot put.
But that doesn't mean the cupboards are completely bare.
WCHS has plenty of firepower with a core group of veteran middle distance runners, as well as experienced sprinters and competitors in the field events.
Sophomore Cal Zahn and senior Nathan Neurhing completed last spring's state championship 4x100, and Zahn also tied for eighth in the high jump. Bussan hopes they'll take the reigns and be leaders.
"Cal and Nathan are expected to be leaders for us," Bussan said.
Zahn's versatility makes him a significant piece to the puzzle. Bussan says Zahn's ability to handle the spotlight will be key to his success over the next two months.
"Cal has worked very hard over the last year, and he's faster and stronger than he was last year," Bussan said. "His biggest thing, with all of the success he had as a freshman, is learning how to deal with that. He's one of the most intense, introspective young men I've had the pleasure of coaching."
Senior discus and shot put competitor Boone Myers - a future University of Iowa football player - also has high expectations for himself. He placed 16th in the 3A state discus field a year ago, but he has his eyes set on a medal in his final season.
Bussan says Myers' out-of-competition demeanor may be just as important to the team as what he accomplishes between the lines.
"To have a young man like Boone on my team means the world to me," Bussan said. "Boone is a class act who, as a person and representative of the school, is just top-notch all the way. He's just one of those people you want to be around."
WCHS also returns all of the pieces to its state-qualifying 4x800 and 1,600 medley relays. Ethan Glenn, Jacob Clabaugh, Nick Thilges and Eric Coleman teamed up to finish 18th in the 4x800; Neurhing, Zahn, Glenn and Coleman were 23rd in the medley.
"We know we have a core group of middle distance kids," Bussan said. "If we get better than we were a year ago then we're starting to get into the area where maybe we can place at the state meet, but right now we just need to get into shape."
Lucas Poland is the lone returning hurdler with experience for the Lynx.
WCHS will open up its outdoor season on Tuesday, April 2 at Eagle Grove.