IOWA CITY– The Iowa City West Trojans look to “fly under the radar for a while this season,” according to Coach Brian Martz. The Trojans have a strong mix of juniors and seniors coming back to lead the way. Seniors Ben Fick, Lincoln Rozeboom, Bennett Thompson and Daniel Seabra will provide leadership with juniors Isaac Jensen, Bailey Wetherell and Joseph Malanson. Sophomore Daniel Gardarsson also returns to forefront of Trojan running.
“We have a lot of returning runners with varsity level racing experience. Jensen, Wetherell and Gardarsson ran at the state track meet last spring as well and are a pretty solid trio of competitors,” coach Martz said.
Senior Phillip Laux and freshman Noah Brase will add further depth to the squad which finished third in the MVC last year.
“We’ve had some bad luck the last two years at the district meet and have been absent from the state championship race. We had a good team both years, but just didn’t get qualified to have a chance to compete at the pinnacle of the season.” Martz says this year, “We’ll let our feet do our talking for us and worry about improving daily before any talk of the championship season starts to take place.”
Along the way, Martz hopes his number four and five runners will get closer to his number three. “We could be pretty competitive with most teams in Iowa this year. We have several guys that could contend for varsity positions, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to that challenge.”
Martz noted they faced a similar situation in 2007 when “a couple seniors really stepped up and recognized the opportunity in front of them.” The result? A conference championship and third place in the state meet.
The coach sees Cedar Falls as “the team to beat” with most of their crew returning from last year’s state meet third-place squad. “They always have good depth in the JV ranks to replace graduates.” Cedar Rapids Prairie, he says, could also be a surprise. “They will be considerably younger than the last two years, but they have some good runners that experienced good leadership, and have been shown the way to succeed.”
Martz, with seven years at West, will be assisted by Travis Craig and Glenn Rozeboom.