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Riffert counting on upperclassmen to lead boys track team

Courtesy Photo The 2021 Alpena High boys track team includes, left to right: Ashton Mill, Austin Heath, Jesse Sheldon, Allen Johnson, Hayden Allen, Cooper Bright, Hunter Hitzleberger, Jacob Kochanski, Sam Cook, Eli Allen, Carlos Calzadilla, John Kurowski, Thaddeus Tadian, Griffen Eggleston, Michael Hermann, Owen Kocan, William O’Neal, Jeremiah Bullis, Tyler VanCleave, Joe Schuh and Dylan Kreft. Missing are Brady Carlson, Jack Cook, Wesley Decker, Zachary Kunath, Noah Lytle, Reginald Rambus, Joseph Sheridan, Julian Stevens, Ryan Voltz and Aidan Weitting.

ALPENA — The Alpena High boys track team has some growing up to do this season.

With a roster that includes one senior and six juniors, the Wildcats have a younger team than in years past, but it’s one that’s ready to work hard nonetheless.

That sits just fine with Alpena coach Collin Riffert.

“They’re excited and you’re excited (as a coach),” Riffert said. “There’s a lot of talent there, so we’ll see how that pans out. It’s fun (coaching the younger athletes) because you get to see where they end up two to three years from now.”

With a smaller team and more underclassmen, Riffert said the upperclassmen will need to lead the way, especially when it comes to scoring in meets and showing the team the ropes in practice.

Thrower Allen Johnson is Alpena’s lone senior this season and juniors Reggie Rambus and Ashton Mill will join him in the discus and shot put events.

Junior Cooper Bright returns for the Wildcats in the sprinting events and juniors Jacob Kochanski and Hayden Allen will anchor the distance events.

It can be difficult for freshman and sophomores to find their spots in the lineup early in the season, but Riffert hopes the good habits and work ethic they establish now will pay big dividends down the road.

“We expect them to come, work hard and learn. This year will be a little different, but we’re really excited to see what everybody can do,” Riffert said. “We have a lot of kids that are excited to finally be outside, getting to run and jump and do all the stuff they like to do.”

The Wildcats will compete in just their second meet of the season Friday.

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