FOLEY – Most coaches in Dave Dahlstrom’s shoes would have some trepidation entering a season after graduating one of the best sprinters in school history along with a core of seniors that helped lead the team to a third-place finish in the Class A state meet.
Dahlstrom is looking forward to the challenge.
Actually, he’s rather enjoying the process of piecing together his team’s puzzle to try to make another run at state.
“With this season, there are a lot of unknowns,” Dahlstrom said. “It’s kind of exciting as a coach.”
Gone is standout sprinter Tyler Beehler, who was a state champion in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes and was a part of the 400 relay team that captured a state title last season. Luke Kelvington was also a part of the relay, and has also graduated.
Beehler was on the Iowa Western Community College football roster last fall and Kelvington is a running back on the St. Cloud State football team.
“I don’t know if anyone will be able to slide into those shoes,” Dahlstrom said.
The plus side for the Falcons is the other half of that team will be intact for a couple more years. Ryan Kurth and Tyler’s cousin, Hunter Beehler, return as sophomores to the 400 relay team.
Junior Spencer Elwell and senior Jordan Faber have been running legs on the 400 relay so far this season. Elwell anchors the relay and has noticed he usually has a lengthy lead to work with by the time he gets the baton.
“The first three guys are really fast,” Elwell said.
Elwell has also emerged as a leading pole vaulter for the Falcons after tinkering with the event in practice after joining the team as a freshman.
Dan Schneider and Brandon Miller join Elwell as the other vaulters for Foley.
“They’re a pretty good core three for us,” Dahlstrom said.
Elwell’s goal is to vault over the 14-foot mark this season. His career best is 12 feet, 6 inches.
“I’d like to get 14 for sure, not many people have gotten above 14,” Elwell said.
The Falcons will also look to senior hurdler Grant Wennerberg, who returns after taking sixth in the 110 hurdles at the state meet last year.
Wennerberg, who is going to pursue a teaching degree at North Dakota State University in the fall, also competes in the 300 hurdles and long jump.
He was pleased with how Foley matched up in the Granite Ridge Conference indoor meet March 27. The Falcons won the meet.
“It was a good meet, everyone performed well. It was a good time and a nice reward for the work we’ve put in so far,” Wennerberg said.
The state meet is something Wennerberg would like to experience again and he has been working toward his personal goal of a state championship.
“That’s definitely something I’m pushing for, but any guy running track is hoping for that,” Wennerberg said.
Both Elwell and Wennerberg think the pieces are there for Foley to make a return trip to state with their balance of experienced upperclassmen and talented underclassmen.
“(We) for sure want to make it to state. We definitely have a team capable of that,” Elwell said.