Depth has MVHS boys track thinking big

The last time the Mounds View High School boys track and field team was a serious contender at the state True Team meet was 2008. The Mustangs were the defending champs that year and ended up finishing 2.5 points behind Eden Prairie.

Mounds View head coach Ross Fleming brought up the 2008 team while talking about this year’s squad. Fleming believes the 2014 team is deeper than the ‘08 squad and could be the Mustangs’ best team in six years.

Part of Fleming’s optimism is based on the number of athletes who returned from last year and another part is based on what those returnees were able to accomplish in 2013. Mounds View finished fourth at the True Team state meet last year and was just five points shy of third place. The Mustangs were also without their top athlete, who missed the state meet while out of town for a national science competition.

Leading Mounds View this spring are the team’s six captains: Sola Olateju, Ola Mustapha, Tony Moga, Eric Martin, Michael Hoff and Andre Hessini. Olateju and Mustapha are sprinters and jumpers, Moga specializes in the 200 and 400 meters, Martin is the team’s top thrower and Hessini and Hoff lead the distance crew.

In addition to being deep, this year’s Mounds View team is experienced with a slew of returning seniors. Joining the six captains are the likes of distance runners Matt Anderson, Tony Duchenes and George Henson. Jalen Hallman is a triple jumper and hurdler, Will Eggers is a sprinter, Wes Lin is the team’s No. 1 pole vaulter and Peter Schlichting and Joe Molanar are additional throwers.

Matt Baker, the team’s top hurdler and high jumper, is one of number of top juniors. Others include thrower Matt Wong and distance runner Mark Sheldon.

Some newcomers who also add to team’s depth are senior Dalton Pauly (distance), sophomore Luke Swenson (sprinter) and junior Connor Stamper (sprinter).

In addition to possibly being a factor at True Team State, Fleming also believes Mounds View is a favorite in the Suburban East Conference, along with White Bear Lake and Stillwater, last year’s runner-up. Roseville was the team champion in 2013.

The Mustangs opened their season on Saturday in the “Last Man Standing Meet,” which was originally scheduled for Mounds View, then moved to Totino-Grace and finally actually took place indoors at Bethel University. On the schedule this week is a pair of relay meets: Thursday at White Bear Lake and Saturday at Stillwater.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

2014 Mounds View High School boys track and field schedule

April 10    White Bear Lake relays        3:30 p.m.
April 12    Pony Relays at Stillwater        9:45 a.m.
April 25    Hamline Elite Meet        5:30 p.m.
April 26    Hopkins True Team Meet        10 a.m.
April 29    Bob Stewart Invitational        3:30 p.m.
May 2    Relay meet at Wayzata        3:45 p.m.
May 6    Section true team meet        3:15 p.m.
May 14    Last Chance meet at Stillwater        3:45 p.m.
May 16    State true team meet at Stillwater    4 p.m.
May 20    Conference prelims at East Ridge    3:15 p.m.
May 22    Conference finals at East Ridge        4:15 p.m.
May 28    Section 5AA prelims at Hamline        1 p.m.
May 30    Section 5AA finals at Hamline        3 p.m.
June 6    State meet at Hamline        9 a.m.
June 7    State meet at Hamline        9 a.m.

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