By Chad Koenen


After their season was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Mills track team is gearing up for a much anticipated return to the track this week. The Eagles return 11 letter winners from their team two years ago and feature a large group of junior high participants that couldmake an impact at the varsity level this season.

Among the returning letter winners are: Daunte Leiran, Daisy Wurst, Nolan Cassidy, Trey Gilster, Natalie Pederson, Ashley Kassa, Bella Bauck, Aidyn Baune, Maya Radniecki, Macy Koljonen and Katherin Garcia.

The NY Mills coaching staff said the team will look to a number of new seventh, eighth and ninth graders to also compete for spots on the varsity level this year. They will be looking to replace three seniors who didn’t have the opportunity to compete in their senior season due to the pandemic, which included: Brennan Malone, Nathan Bessler and Ian Perala. They will also look to replace Edan Cassidy and Jonas Baune who graduated in 2019. 

“A good number of those athletes held spots on our relay teams, it will be fun to see who will compete on those relays this year,” said coach Hailey Windels. 

Some of the goals for the team this season is to have some of the top finishers in the shot put, discus, long jump, triple jump, 100-meter, 200-meter and 1600-meter run each week and even have a few participants qualify for the section meet. 

Section qualifiers in 2019 include Wurst in the long jump and 100-meter, Kassa in the 100-meter, Bauck in the 1,600-meter, Baune in the long jump and triple jump and the Leiran in the shot put and discus. 

Windels said the team also hopes to just enjoy the season and the opportunity to participate on the track. She said the team is excited for the opportunity to get back on the track this year. 

While the Eagles are excited to be back on the track, the team will look to compete with several top teams in the area this year including Wadena-Deer Creek and Perham who will be among the favorites in the section.