There is talent to be had for both the Homestead boys and girls track teams this spring, but both boys coach Dan Benson and girls coach John Krueger are looking for depth.
In the latest early spring indoor action, the Highlander girls competed well and took 13th of 24 in the Oshkosh Large Schools Invitational on March 27. They will co-host the North Shore Conference Indoor meet on April 6 with the boys.
At the Oshkosh meet, representatives of the Highlanders 2016 state fifth-place 4x800-meter relay acquitted themselves. Senior 800-meter ace Katie Wegmann won her specialty by 0.26 of a second over an Arrowhead opponent with a 2:22.38 clocking while senior Allie Levin was fourth in the 3,200 with an 11:45.55 effort. Junior Savannah Melan was eighth in the 400 dash (1:03.24).
Those efforts gave the Highlanders 16 points as Waukesha West won the meet with 50 points.
Overall, Krueger has around 65 athletes for his defending North Shore Conference outdoor championship squad this spring.
Krueger said the bones are there for another good season, but health remains an issue as senior sprinter Grace Karegeannes is coming back from a stress fracture issue, as is another member of the 2016 4x800 relay, senior Zanelle Willemse. Patience will be key, Krueger said.
Others to be counted on include sophomore jumper Ally Rilling, senior thrower Jessie Zupke and senior hurdler Leah Gholson.
Krueger said there have been some nice surprises in the freshmen class, and he's hoping they will talk up the sport to their friends and bring more of them out.
"Everything is a work in progress right now," Krueger said. "It'll be fun to put it all together."
The boys are in a similar position as they work with about 70 athletes. Dan Benson is back leading a tri-coaching effort with veterans Todd Brawner and Andy Bosley. He is cautiously optimistic about what he has.
Benson said he and the rest of the staff will know more about what they have when they hit the NSC indoor meet.
Sophomore distance ace Drew Bosley, who placed fifth in the open 3,200 meters at state and also led the 4x800 relay team to a second-place effort, is coming off a powerful cross-country season where he took second at state. He will lead a strong group of distance runners, including seniors Thomas Miller and Noah Cummisford and junior Messi Elgin. Cummisford was also part of that state runner-up 4x800 relay.
Junior Mike Bruner was a state high qualifier a year ago. Other veterans include sprinters Corey DeToro and Willie Garrison III; sprinter/hurdler Zion Bullock; and thrower Tim Rodd
"As a team, not sure what we have yet," Benson said. "Each event group has some experienced returning athletes, so we do feel good about that. We are currently trying to get 70 athletes into the proper events and piece things together.
"Like all seasons, it will be a patient process."