FERDINAND — Seniors have carved out roles this year in track and field for Forest Park, and Wednesday’s senior night honoring the team’s 11 seniors was no blip.
However, this wasn’t the case last year when some weren’t participating.
The Forest Park boys won the tri-meet with 114 points. Tecumseh had 36 and South Spencer scored 17.
The Rangers girls scored 106 and the Braves had 34 and the Rebels had 25.
An influx of new blood has bolstered both Ranger squads.
“It’s just great, me and JD (Kerber) and a couple of other guys weren’t even planning on coming out until a couple weeks before the season (started),” senior Henry Hagedorn said. “I had a lot of doubts coming in, not thinking much of it, no regrets. I love all the guys. We have no team issues, good teamwork, we push each other. It’s been a good season.”
Hagedorn played baseball last year.
“I’m hoping more kids come out,” Hagedorn said. “If they don’t come out as a senior…a lot of kids aren’t doing a sport this time of the year.”
Another added layer of incentive was having his brother and sophomore Gus Hagedorn on the track.
“With my brother, I honestly don’t think I would be here today if he hadn’t pushed me to come out and join,” Henry said.
The 400m relay first-place team was made up of seniors Will Kreilein, Kerber, Henry and the anchor Tristan Weyer, a junior.
“(We’ve) got a good senior group, they are all good kids,” Hagedorn said. “They all pushed us to be our best. It was just a fun group to be around.”
Henry put up a personal record of 44.57 seconds in the 300 hurdles.
“Henry’s an interesting person, he’s fearless, that’s what helps him on those,” coach Philip Wolf said. “He is not scared of attacking those hurdles, at all. That helps him out a lot.”
Senior Spenser Wolf missed out on the school record in the one-mile with a time of 4:22.
“I’m going to need a guy from Jasper (senior Abe Eckman) and him to go at it hard at sectional,” Philip said. “That’s probably the only way he’s going to be able to get it because it’s hard to run that fast on your own. It just is. Running that pace…there’s a reason it’s a record for 30-plus years. He’s in shape to do it. It’s just a matter of when he’s going to get an opportunity to do it.”
The girls had three seniors take part in the leisurely jog around the track. “It was kind of cool to give (senior) Ellie (Hall) that little bit, run with her, join her for senior year,” senior Claire Eckert said.
Neither Eckert nor senior Avari Burger came out last year. Burger came out as a freshman.
It’s a tight-knit group from both genders across all grades.
“I always look forward to coming to practice because I always know Philip and the team will always make me laugh, keep me on my toes all the time,” Eckert said. “They always think of something funny to say or like a pick me up.”
Hall won the one-mile in 5:24.
“Ellie, ever since I joined this year, has pushed me to be good,” Eckert said. “I know she takes it very seriously and I respect that. Even when we are doing workouts she’s always like, ‘Claire, you can do it. Push yourself harder today.’ Even though I’m not winning first place and this and that, just always having her be there to push us.”
In field events, junior Amber Tretter cleaned up. She broke her record in the discus at 104-2 and matched personal records in the shot put and high jump with marks of 34-9 and 4-10, respectively.
It was a picturesque night for a veteran group that logged a credible senior campaign.
“Every one of them got to see a little time on the track, a couple of them haven’t seen it most of the year, if not all of the year,” Philip said. “It meant the world to every one of the seniors. As you saw in the guys race, they held hands crossing the finish line because they’re that close. That’s what makes this team what they are by the family they’ve created within each other.”