The Gustavus men’s track and field team will return a strong contingent of athletes that recorded top ten finishes at last year’s MIAC Indoor Championships and the team’s goal is to improve on last year’s sixth place finish.
The team will be anchored by senior sprinter Jack Henkemeyer (SR, Plymouth, Minn.), junior hurdler Tanner Miest (JR, New London, Minn.), and junior high jumper Jered Hokenson (Watertown, Minn.). Henkemeyer earned all-conference honors with a second place finish in the 55 meter dash last year while also adding a fifth place finish in the 200 meter dash. He is considered one of the top sprinters in the conference. Henkemeyer will also be a part of the 4×200 meter relay team Tom Johnson (SO, Mankato, Minn.), Anthony Schultzetenberg (JR, Greenwald, Minn.), and either Ben Treichel (SO, Webster, Wis.) or Chad Arlt (FY, St. Michael, Minn.) Miest posted a second place finish in the 55 meter hurdles a year ago, missing first place by one-one hundredth of a second. Hokenson earned all-conference honors with a third place finish in the high jump just a week after wrapping up his basketball season a year ago. This year, Hokenson is just concentrating on track and field and he will look to score points for the Gusties in the pentathlon as well.
In the throwing events, Gustavus will be led by junior Andy Klaers (Delano, Minn.), senior Darin Mays (Minnesota Lake, Minn.), senior Joe Atkinson (Lake Crystal, Minn.), and junior Luke Weyandt (Blaine, Minn.). Klaers finished fifth in the weight throw last year with a throw of 50′ 6″. Weyandt finished seventh in the shot put with an effort of 45′ 2 1/2″. Atkinson, who did not compete indoors last season, finished fourth at the MIAC Outdoor Championships and is expected to be one of the top competitors in the shot put during this indoor season.
In the hurdles, Miest is considered one of the elite hurdlers in the conference. He will be shooting for his third consecutive top three finish and his first 55 meter hurdle title. Miest will welcome another top prospect to the fold this year as freshman Tyler Geyen (Watertown, Minn.) is expected to give the Gusties a strong one-two punch. Geyen was one of the top high school hurdlers in the state last year.
In the jumps, the Gusties will be young, but Coach Tom Thorkelson feels the team is much improved in this area. Sophomore Ben Treichel returns and he will welcome newcomers John Retka (FR, St. Paul, Minn.) and Chad Wilshusen (FR, Fremont, Nebr.). This group is hoping to pick up some points at the conference meet in the long and triple jump this year after the Gusties who shut out in the two events a year ago.
In the pole vault, sophomore Drew Hood (Mankato, Minn.) returns after finishing seventh last year. Senior Matt Fordyce (Atwater, Minn.) will also contribute.