FELCH - North Dickinson is scheduled to finally open its track and field season this afternoon, participating in the meet at Niagara.
The Nordics boys roster of 23 athletes includes 19 returning letter winners.
"We have decent numbers out for track this year, which will be helpful in filling all events," Nordics head coach Mike Lindholm said.
While the numbers are good, the Nordics took a hit in terms of points with the loss of U.P. qualifiers due to the graduation of three seniors.
"Some of the freshman, sophomores, and juniors from last year will begin to fill in these voids," Lindholm said. "Like last year, the team will do well if they work hard in practice. I think they can be competitive, which is all you can ask of a track athlete - just compete.
Lindholm said the team has been doing what it needs to do to get better.
"I'm expecting the points to be more spread out throughout the team this year again," he said. "I'm hoping the six seniors show leadership for the younger athletes.
Lindholm looks to ody Berg, Ken Pekarek, Tim Hruska, Brad Gustafson, Derek Wagner and Logan O'Neil to be strong in their U.P. qualifying events from last year.
"If we can find some good combinations in relays by the end of the year we should be alright," he added. "Hopefully, the underclassmen will improve throughout the year and prove helpful down the stretch."
The Nordic girls, coached by Mike Roell, return last season's points leader and team MVP in junior Deborah Starnes, who competes in pole vault, long jump and sprints. Eight more letter winners return in seniors Taylor Steele and Marissa Jauquet, juniors Gina Rotter, Kimberly Cary and Abby Steinbrecher, and sophomores Miranda Jacobson, Lexi Steele and Maria Roell.
North Dickinson lost five letter winners to graduation including U.P. high hurdle champion Heather Roell.
"We lost some good athletes that were the leaders on the team," Roell noted. "It will take time to try and replace them."
A roster of 22 strong should help the Nordics fill out events.
"We need to work hard and improve through-out the season and hopefully we can have some girls step up and have good seasons," Roell said. "This is a great group of girls that are a lot of fun to coach and be around."
Roell said he is looking for a few girls to step up into leadership roles.
"I am looking forward to getting the meets started," Roell said. "It is always fun to watch the girls improve throughout the season."
SENIOR - Dominic Christian, Brady Mashak, Kenny Pekarek, Cody Berg, Dylan Fesnick, Thomas Briseno.
JUNIOR - Logan O'Neil, Tim Hruska, Justin Clark, Blake Lindeman, Bradley Gustafson, Matthew Schultz, Caleb Talon.
SOPHOMORE - Derek Wagner, Jordan Bosma, Colin Roell, Jordan Neumann, Zack Balmes, Travis Wischmeier.
FRESHMEN - Walton Reimer, Lucas Jauquet, Noah Berg, Trevor Wischmeier.
SENIOR - Taylor Steele, Marissa Jauquet, Grace Carey, McKenzie Jacobson.
JUNIOR - Gina Rotter, Kimberly Cary, Deborah Starnes, Abigail Steinbrecher, Winter Steinbrecher, Alie Smith, Elly Jauquet.
SOPHOMORE - Miranda Jacobson, Lexi Steele, Maria Roell, Frankie Preistap, Alexis Bosma.
FRESHMEN - Elizabeth Charlevoix, Amber Chiamulera, McKenna Christian, Martha Nord, Mariana Smith, Kimberly Pekarek.