Editorial: Bruns twins, track teams compete with excellence
Op-Ed · June 28, 2013

We never get tired of saying it: We do not wonder if our West Branch High School track teams will see anyone qualify for the state track meet, we wonder how many will get to go.

The number varies from year to year, but the above statement is both inspiring and profound.

How do they do it? How can a high school send so many student-athletes to the state meet, year after year?

Running the fastest, jumping the highest, throwing the farthest — either you can do it or you can’t, right?

If it were that simple, we would not need coaches. And yet boys track Head Coach Brad McCloskey and girls track Co-Head Coaches Scott Kelly and Carol Lumpa find ways to get the Bears to exceed the speeds and heights and distances of so many opponents that we the fans are in danger of taking it for granted.

Looking back on the 2013 season, the biggest highlight has to be that of twin seniors Courtney and Lindsey Bruns. To finish their outstanding career running for both the West Branch track team and the City High cross-country team, they took first (Courtney) and second (Lindsey) at state in the 3000-meter run. They finished just four seconds apart and 20 seconds ahead of the next competitor in what Coach Lumpa aptly described as a “dominating performance.”

And the Bruns sisters caught the attention of much more than West Branch and Iowa City fans, drawing the interest of college coaches offering them scholarships to run for them. In the end, both of them signed to run for Division I teams, with Courtney going to compete for the University of Iowa and Lindsey running for the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

We cannot help but wonder what will happen if they meet each other on the track after training with college-level conditioning coaches.

Maddy Russell, Kelli Vaughan, Maria Kyllingstad, Heather Poula, Amber Eggers, Megan Tadlock and Shannon Laing joined the Bruns’ by representing the Bears also in the 1500m, 4x400, 200m, shuttle hurdle relay, distance medley, discus and shot put.

On the boys team, West Branch sent Tyler Donovan and Mason Hays to run in the 800m, Mike Gould, Bo Bower, Matt Shawver and Hunter Wargo for the shuttle hurdle relay team. That was six athletes competing in two events in the boys track and field meet at Drake Stadium.

Both Donovan and Hays finished with personal-best times for their two laps around the track, with less than three seconds between their finishing times. Neither of them are seniors, and there is a very good chance we will see them return in 2014.

McCloskey said Donovan and Hays “gave us a taste of what is to come next season for our young team,” and we think he is correct.

Of course, like every year, we bid farewell to many of the seniors who led our teams to such great successes, and this year is no different.

Yet we cannot help but wonder: Who all will go to state next year?

Congratulations to the boys and girls track teams for training so hard, and to the coaches for inspiring and prodding to get the best out of the team that represents West Branch.

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