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Ellis track team has depth

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

The Ellis High School track and field team has plenty of talent, including standout freshman Alexcia Deutscher, senior Megan Honas, junior Kaleigh Soneson, sophomore Stephanie Greenway and sophomore Jared Pfeifer.

The Railroaders, though, also have plenty of numbers and depth. Veteran coach Jack Wolf said he has a 54-person roster, the biggest he has had in his nearly 20 years with the program. Plus, the Railers have to compete with baseball, softball and boys' golf in the spring, a rarity for a Class 2A school.

"It is a good feeling when you get that many out," Wolf said. "I didn't really know what to expect. They are all good kids. Some of their work ethic could be a little better. I look at some of them and say, 'Man, if I had your talent.' It's just like you are wasting some of it. Hopefully, they will buy in and try to get better. We get some of those younger kids down to state, it's just a whole different atmosphere."

It helped the boys and girls win the season-opening Ellis Invitational last Tuesday. Ellis will compete again today at Ness City.

Wolf believes the girls' team, led by Deutscher in the jumps and sprints and Honas in the throws, can compete for a top-three finish at the Class 2A state track and field championships in late May. On the girls' side, Ellis has just one senior in Honas and has a big junior high group that could keep the numbers high for the next several years.

"I think we can compete really," Wolf said. "If it keeps going as good as it starts out, I think we can do OK at state if everybody makes it down there. We won't win it. I think there is a team (Kansas City Marantha Academy), they were all young kids last year and won it, so it's going to be hard to compete with that. ... It's a possibility we could get a plaque again. It will tell when we get into a little stiffer competition."

Throwing coach Steve Erbert has built one of the classification's top throwing programs in the last 12 years. This spring, he has 30 throwers, easily the most he has had.

"Stacked in a couple of areas," Erbert said. "I have got good upperclassmen and a lot of freshmen."

Honas, a two-time state qualifier, is the most experienced thrower. Senior Luke Lohrmeyer has led the Railers. Erbert has noticed the freshmen and younger classmen learning from the veterans, something Erbert likes.

"We have got a good thing going on," Erbert said