The girls track and field season is underway. Here are previews of teams from around the Record Newspapers coverage area.
Coach: Jeff Schutt.
Top athletes: Megan Williams, sr., hurdles/jumps; Kiara Wesseh, so., high jump; KJ Friestad, sr., throws; Peyton Eike, sr., relays; Lindsey Hatteberg, sr., relays; Kellie Snyder, sr., relays.
Worth noting: Schutt believes that this will be potentially be his strongest girls’ team that he has had at Newark since starting the program. Past state qualifier Williams, who battled injury last year, is back and healthy. Wesseh, who took second place in the Class 1A state high jump as a freshman, is back and looking even better this year. Friestad, a returning state qualifier in the shot put, is still splitting time between softball and track but should be back at state again. Eike, Hatteberg and Snyder are expected to team up to form state-qualifying relays. Newark has a great younger group of ladies that will add to this strong senior core. Athletes such as Tess Carlson in the pole vault and relays, Addison Ness in the relays and long jump, Madison Sittler, Gwyn O’Connell, Brooklyn Hatteberg, Julia DiClementi, Isabella Creps and Aubrey Benesh will give the Newark ladies much needed depth and probably some events to be filled that are still uncertain.
Coach: Jeff Edwards (first year)
Top returners: Audra Soderlind, jr., 1600/3200; Becca Corbett, sr., 400/4×800; Skyllar Greenslade, sr., 100/200/sprint relays; Jazmine Visor, sr., 400/4×400; Emma Ponx, sr., pole vault/sprint relays; Gwen Berenyi, sr., pole vault/sprint relays; McKenzie Farrell, sr., pole vault/long jump/sprints; Nwandum Tendong, sr., shot put/discus; Chelecia Booker, jr., 200/400/4×200/4×400.
Top newcomers: Ava Pardo, jr., 400/300 hurdles, 4×400; Lauren Broom, so., hurdles/sprints; Aaliyah Roldan, fr., sprints; Lucy Michaels, fr., hurdles/jumps/sprints.
Worth noting: The Panthers finished a successful indoor season by placing second at the Plainfield North Invite, the unofficial Southwest Prairie Conference indoor meet, just four points behind team champion Minooka. Soderlind swept the two distance race titles at conference. Soderlind, Corbett, Ponx and the 4×400 relay team all qualified for state last year.
Soderlind (3200), Ponx, Berenyi and Farrell in the pole vault, as well as the 4×800 and 4×200 relay teams all qualified for the Top Times indoor state meet. Long-time boys head coach Edwards is taking on the role of girls head coach as well.
“I am really looking forward to seeing what these girls can do in the outdoor season and we are hoping to be competing not only for the conference championship but also looking to compete for a sectional championship,” Edwards said. “Lofty goals I know but I see a lot of potential in our upperclassmen as well as some very promising newcomers like Ava Pardo, Abigail (Gracie) Beilfuss and younger athletes that look to contribute this year. The girls are really responding well to the training and we are hoping to set some school records this year as well as qualifying many athletes to the state meet.”
Coach: Connor Downs.
Top athletes: Kenna Nord, sr., long jump/triple jump; Maddie Zarembski, sr., 800/1600/3200/4×800 relay/4×400 relay; Ana Barroso, sr., 800/1600/3200/4×800 relay/4×400 relay; Elsa Clausen, sr., throws; Gabby Stamatis, sr., jumps; Faith Adams, jr., sprints/jumps; Naima Morris, jr., hurdles; Sydney Williams, jr., 800/400.
Worth noting: The Wolves have their largest senior class ever with 24 senior girls. Oswego East has around 120 girls out for track overall. Besides depth, the team’s strength is in the technical areas of track. Nord, Zarembski, Barroso and Adams are all returning state qualifiers. Clausen, just committed to Concordia Ann Arbor, is over 33 feet in shot put so far inside. Stamatis is a returning all-conference triple jumper and Morris all-conference in the hurdles. Williams is already at 2:27 inside for the 800. The Wolves took first at the Homewood-Flossmoor ABC Invite, second at the Batavia Invite and fifth at the Plainfield North Invite unofficial indoor conference meet without having girls do more than two events.
“Overall the biggest narrative that exemplifies our team is the depth, and the ability to grow with coaching,” Downs said. “We have a really good group that takes coaching very well. We excel in the field areas, and I have already seen a few times this year a few examples of our girls’ ability to attack races the way coaches try to explain that they may go. It has been fun to watch us compete inside and we are very ready to get outside.”
Coach: Rick Ponx
Top athletes: Armoney Clay, jr., sprints; Favour Amakari, so., sprints; Ava DeBolt, sr., high jumps; Sasha Helfgott-Waters, jr., pole vault/jumps; Kalia Young, fr., jumps; Luniah Gilford, fr., jumps, Alexandria Lemke, 800.
Worth noting: The Reapers after a tough 2021 season are off to a good start in indoor season. Plano set over 19 personal records at its first meet at Glenbard North, finished third at the 10-team Sycamore Invite and won the 10-team Comet Classic at Reed-Custer. Clay won the 60-meter dash and was third in the 200 at Reed-Custer, Amakari won the 200 and was second in the 60, Helfgott-Waters won the pole vault and triple jump and Young won the long jump.
“We have depth and a team that has very strong chemistry,” Ponx said. “The girls are excited to compete and they support each other in every race. With 27 girls on the team we are finally able to enter at least two girls in every event and a team in every relay. That has helped us score points in just about every event. This is a fun team to be around and we are looking to carry our indoor success into the outdoor season with our first meet being at home on March 29th.”
Coach: Chad Hicks (first season)
Top athletes: Claire Allen, jr., throws; Erin Lissman, fr., distance/relays; Joanna Rivera, distance/relays; Molly Roberts, sr., mid-distance/relays.
Worth noting: Sandwich placed fifth at the Sycamore Invite and third at Reed-Custer during indoor season. Allen was second in the Class 2A shot put and fourth in the discus at the state meet last year. She won the shot put titles at both Sycamore and Reed-Custer, throwing it 11.66 meters at Reed-Custer. Freshman Erin Lissman was second in the 1,600 at Reed-Custer and Sycamore and Joanna Rivera won the race at Sycamore. The 4×800 relay was first at Sycamore and second at Reed-Custer. The 4×400 relay was second at both Reed-Custer and Sycamore while Alana Stahl was third in the 800 at Sycamore and Rivera was third at Reed-Custer. Molly Roberts was fourth in the 400 at Reed-Custer.
Coach: Lauren Vriezen (sixth season).
Top athletes: Anna Hunter, sr., distance; Maggie Hunter, sr., distance; Ava Galloway, so., distance; Allegra Triner, so., distance; Katie Melzer, jr., distance; Ashley Wojciechowski, jr., sprints/jumps; Ashley Popplewell, so., sprints/sprint relays; Trinity Stewart, so., sprints/sprint relays; Natalia Maldonado, so., 400; Paige Phillips, so., sprints; Mia Boule, jr., pole vault; Angie Nendick, jr., throws; Courtney Clabough, fr., throws.
Worth noting: Anna Hunter and Maggie Hunter, part of Yorkville’s state-qualifying 4×800 relay last year, lead a distance group that has most of its girls back. Anna Hunter will run the 1,600 and Maggie Hunter the 4×800 at this Saturday’s Top Times meet. Galloway, part of several 4×800 relays during indoor season, will compete in the 3,200 this Saturday. Triner and Melzer have made big progress in the 400 and 800 while running the 4×800. Wojciechowski leads Yorkville’s jumps and hurdlers and has had several PRs during indoor season. Popplewell, Stewart and Maldonado are all back on the sprints and sprint relays and will be joined there by promising newcomer Phillips. Boule is new to the sport, but has already cleared 9 feet, 5.5 inches in the pole vault. Nendick capped off the indoor season with a big PR of 33 feet, 0.75 inches in the shot put at indoor conference to take third. Clabough had an indoor PR of 38 feet to win the conference shot put championship last weekend and is the only freshman thrower to qualify for the shot put at the Top Times meet.
“Looking ahead to outdoor we are really looking to build on the hard work our kids have put in throughout the indoor season as well as to welcome a sizable young group who is just joining us for the outdoor season,” Vriezen said. “We are looking to continue to build success in the distance events on the track as well as try to build some depth among our sprinters and jumpers that was lacking last year. Again, we are excited to watch our core group of throwers with Courtney and Angie coming off of good indoor seasons.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle