Death, taxes and the Brookfield East track and field team having a good season seem to be sure things in life.
Spartans veteran coach Mike Steiner and his staff are extremely excited for the 2016 season, coming off a year where they were the GMC Indoor and Outdoor team champions and the regional and sectional team champions. Steiner also returns six athletes who competed in the state meet last year.
'We have solid depth and have exceptional and experienced talent in virtually every event and have a super-talented senior class,' Steiner said. 'We will be led by Mario Carr and Drew Bullen. Our kids are motivated and have worked hard this off-season to make this a memorable year.'
Steiner has a list of several key returning players.
Bullen, a senior (sprints, jumps) was the Spartans' 2015 co-MVP and the Greater Metro Conference Track Athlete of the Year. He was a state qualifier last year in three events. He is the school recordholder in the long jump, and he is the returning conference champion in the long jump and 100-meter dash. He is a West Point recruit.
The other half of East co-MVP duo was Carr, also a senior (hurdles, jumps), and a state qualifier in three events last year. He is the returning conference champion in the triple jump.
Senior Mitch Mikulsky (sprints) returns from an injury-riddled 2015 season. He was a state qualifier as sophomore and is one of the better sprinters in GMC.
Senior Will Schmidt (sprints) provides valuable depth and should be a key contributor this year.
Senior Matt Szews (jumps) is being counted on heavily in the high jump and triple jump.
'He's our best high jumper and should benefit greatly from his experience last year,' Steiner said.
Nick Krueger, a top middle-distance performer, should be solid from 400 to 1,600. He qualified in two events for the state meet last year.
Mark Stack, a four-year varsity performer, was a member of a state-qualifying 4x800 relay last season.
Donovan Lutz, a top distance runner, returns and should contribute in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. He was a state qualifier in cross-country this past fall.
Michael Caliendo (throws) is the defending conference champion in the shot put, and he is joined by Jack Leonovicz (Dartmouth recruit) and Sam Santiago-Lloyd (throws) to form a solid 1-2-3 punch
Junior Saxton Williams (sprints), a state qualifier last year in two events, also returns.
Senior Cameron Allen-Aylsworth (throws), East's No. 1 discus thrower and a state qualifier in 2014, should also have a solid season, and he will be joined by senior Dominic Cartier, who should be one of best discus throwers in GMC.
Despite all that returning talent, the Spartans have plenty of new faces to draw from.
Sophomore Caleb Wright (hurdles/jumps/sprints) is a versatile athlete, who should contribute in both the field and on the track.
Other names to look for (listed by class) are seniors Kyle Hansen (sprints), Andrew Olsen (sprints), Cooper Olson (throws) and TC Swittel (sprints); juniors Avery Barnes (hurdles, jumps) and Max Ketter (pole vault); and sophomore Justin Parbs (pole vault, sprints).
'We have an outstanding group of kids who have worked exceptionally hard this past off-season and have set high goals for the year,' Steiner said. 'Many of our seniors are battle-tested and have performed at a high level since they began here at East. The plan will be to take it one day at a time and work to get better each and every day.'