Merrill Bluejay Preseason Practice

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at Merrill High School

Coach Greg Eichelkraut is shown above during Merrill's station warm - up drills. The stations represent ideas taken from various Merrill and Wausau Sports Medicine Rehab Clinic's physical therapy activities, and coach’s association presentations. Merrill gained some insight from John Zuelsdorf's team building techniques at Tomahawk high school which were derived from the Cross Country Journal and athlete requests for a more stimulating [physically and mentally] warm-up routine. The stations concentrate on building pillar strengths and combine physical therapy routines and traditional footwork drills from the Loren Seagrave program to improve strength, balance and agility. The drills are performed daily. They used to be done just twice a week alternating with weight room workouts. All the athletes participate in the drills from 3:25 to 4:05. The team is divided into units with each unit having an equal mix of 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders. This helps with team unity. Coach Eichelkraut will occasionally keep statistics on performances during drills. These statistics introduce a competitive nature to warm-ups and improve intensity. These scores, combined with other activities that encourage members to get in paperwork, participate in spirit days, dress-up days, and volunteering will be compiled for the end of the year. Top scoring groups then receive t-shirt awards at the end of the season. Grades, attendance and other school related criteria are also used to score points for each of the warm-up groups.

Merrill has a large field house with an indoor 4 lane track. Athletes have plenty of room to practice their events. Below left: Coach John Bezier works with the sprinters and hurdlers. Right: Jackie Oestreich who was on spring break from UW-Madison ran on Merrill's second place D1 4X8 relay team at the 2005 WIAA State meet. Jackie is now a member of the UW-Madison women's track and field team.

Pictured above are some of the throwers that Melissa Yates coaches [L-R] Anna Weddig, Marlee Arneson, Jenny Dahm, Danielle Hall, Maria Hoffman, Danielle Boles, Renee McDonald, Rochelle Asaby and Chelsea Grund.

[L-R] Hannah Buhrmann [pole vaulter], Cassey Lynn and Stephanie Szymanski. Lynn, Szymanski and Kristen Schram are all seniors and were members of Merrill's 4X8 relay team which placed second at the 2005 WIAA State Meet.

Merrill distance runners [Row 1 L-R] Kristen Schram, Rachel Andreska, Sarah Krueger, and Samantha Bauman. [Row 2 L-R] Danielle Noland, Cassey Lynn, Stephanie Szymanski, and Laura Schlief.