The 2012 St. Anthony boys track season showed coach Kevin Wiedman that his team, however small, had talent. The Bulldogs, already dealing with a roster stout on underclassmen lacking much varsity experience, also had to deal with a number of critical injuries that kept their numbers down. But it didn't alter their drive to succeed, as Wiedman's squad turned in a second-place finish at the NTC meet, and qualified a pair for the state meet at Eastern Illinois University.
"We were all so young," he said. "Our best folks were freshmen and sophomores. I was impressed with how we grew throughout the year."
This year's team will still appear young on paper, but many members of the noticeably small roster will have at least a year of major varsity experience under their belts.
One key freshman contributor last season was Peter Keller, who turned out to be a revelation in the two-mile run. In just his first season on the varsity circuit, Keller not only qualified for the state meet in Charleston, but also turned in a seventh-place finish in the state finals. Crossing the finish line in a blistering time of 10:02.87, Keller's performance made him the only freshman at the meet to finish in the top 15 runners.
"He's phenomenal," Wiedman said. "You don't see freshmen usually even competing, much less going to state and placing. He's looking forward to competing in the mile as well."
Along with the sophomore sensation, John Goeckner returns for his junior campaign after an astounding second-year. Goeckner qualified for the state meet in the high jump, where his mark of 5 feet 11 inches just missed out on the finals.
"He was a good jump away from being one of the top ten jumpers there," Wiedman said. "He's coming off an injury in basketball, so our hope is to get him jumping in the second half of the year. He's doing all the things he needs to be to get healthy."