The snow is melting and the track heating up as Lakeland Union boys and girls track teams prepares for their first meet. 

The first meet of the year is the Lakeland Open Meet on Tuesday, March 19 held at LUHS. With the recent rain and rising temperatures melting the snow, the spring track season is finally arriving.

The track teams will get many chances to show what they got in a variety of meets. One of the first big meets of the year is April 6 with the Indoor State meet in Whitewater. Another meet will take the team to Palatine, Ill., with Distance Night on April 20.

“The big meets we take our elite kids, for the smaller meets everybody else does,” coach Dan Claussen said. 

Lakeland will also be hosting a variety of meets this year, from big meets to smaller ones.

“We host five meets, two indoor and three outdoors,” Claussen said. “At the end of the year we’re hosting our Conference meet and the WIAA Regionals.”

Last season, the Lakeland boys team took first place in Outdoor Conference standings, while the girls took second place to Medford. Claussen takes over for Kevin FitzPatrick, last year’s boys Coach of the Year.

“I don’t even know how many years Kevin was the head track coach here, I’m going to say a dozen, maybe 14 or so,” Claussen said. “I’ve done some changes and I have experience doing all this stuff.”

The teams will be looking to repeat some of that success this year, but knows there are plenty of good athletes in the conference to consider. But both teams have returning athletes that will give a boost to their teams.

For the girls it is Aubrey Anderson and Ashley Peterson. Last year, Anderson was first team all conference in the 800-meter run, while Peterson was first team all conference in both the 1,600 and 3,200.

For the boys, it’s pole vaulters Vincent Strong and Zach Hayes. Strong was an honorable mention in pole vaulting last year with Hayes coming on strong as well. 

“They are pretty elite type kids, especially for Division 2,” Claussen said. “We only have two senior boys right now, so we’re looking to really develop for the future.”

Track season is here as both teams look to repeat last year’s success and have fun doing it.

Brett LaBore may be reached at brett@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.