Girls track and field preview

Andover
Coach: Gretchen Wahl, seventh season
Outlook: Andover returns with two state entrants in defending wheelchair 100-meter dash champion Stacy Bates and high jumper Taylor Hedin placed ninth in the Class AA meet.
Bates will have a second wheelchair athlete, sophomore Olivia Crawford, to compete against this spring, a first for any program in the state.

Andover’s Stacy Bates, front, comes into the season as the defending 100-meter wheelchair state champ. The Huskies are the first program in the state to have multiple wheelchair athletes on the same team with the addition of Olivia Crawford.

Andover’s Stacy Bates, front, comes into the season as the defending 100-meter wheelchair state champ. The Huskies are the first program in the state to have multiple wheelchair athletes on the same team with the addition of Olivia Crawford.Photo by Bill Jones

The team added assistant coach Mark Braun to the staff after competing as a wheelchair athlete at Irondale.
Seniors Maddie McKeefry and Hannah Wolfe will captain a team with new sprints and relays coach Drew Clark. Drew is the son of longtime cross country and Nordic ski coach Scott Clark. Drew Clark has been an assistant coach with the cross country team and took over head coaching duties with the Nordic team this season.
Senior Raquel Thelen will look for a third trip to state after qualifying in the 400 and 4×200 relay as a freshman and sophomore.

Anoka
Coach: Pete Tremaine
Outlook: Coming off the distance group’s success from the fall cross country season, look for continued wins on the track led by seniors Alexis Fritz and Lindsey Gast.
Senior Steph Nielsen is another key senior returning with experience. Tremaine said the team is young but rising quickly though the field to score points. “They’re hard workers but lack experience,” he said.

Blaine
Coach: Ann Stalboerger, 23rd season
Outlook: Blaine compiled a spectacular 2013 season representing the section at the state true team meet, runner-up in the Northwest Suburban Conference Championships and third in the Section 5AA meet.

Blaine junior Alex Williams is coming off a third place finish in the 300 hurdles at state. The Bengals placed second in the conference and third in the Section 5AA meet.

Blaine junior Alex Williams is coming off a third place finish in the 300 hurdles at state. The Bengals placed second in the conference and third in the Section 5AA meet. Photo by Bill Jones

As a result of the strong team finishes, Blaine was represented in eight events at the state meet.
Junior Alex Williams placed third in the 100-meter hurdles and the 4×200 relay team. Junior Katelyn Marciniak is the only returner from that relay team after classmate Britney Monteon will not compete because of a knee injury.
Sprinter Taylor Morgan will also not be able to compete this season due to  a knee injury.
Courtney Purcell and Hailey Lachinski graduated last year.
Marciniak also ran on the 4×100 relay at state.
Junior Alyssa Nebo ran on the 4×100 relay team and competed in the long jump at state.
Junior Alex Williams earned all-conference honors in the 100 and 300 hurdles and Stalboerger Williams to be among the best hurdlers in the state again this season.
Senior Brenna Mohoney and sophomore Elisha Lindsey earned all-conference honors in the 400 dash.
Senior Marissa Eggerichs earned all-conference honors in the long jump and junior ShaRon Miller was all-conference in the shot put and classmate Jaclyn Kingman earned all-conference distinction with the discus.

Coon Rapids Coach: Denny Green, ninth season
Outlook:
Athena Award winner Amber Harris returns as the lone state entrant from last spring, competing in the 300 hurdles at her her second state meet. Thrower Courtney Pasiowitz graduated after finishing second to St. Francis’ Maggie Ewen, whot set a new state record in the shot put.

Coon Rapids senior captain and Amber Harris looks to return to the state meet in June.

Coon Rapids senior captain and Amber Harris looks to return to the state meet in June. Photo by Bill Jones

The Cardinals placed sixth in the Northwest Suburban Conference and eighth at the Section 5AA meet.
Look for more depth throughout the events this season. If everyone can stay healthy and improve during the season Coon Rapids should be among the leaders.
Among the key returning athletes: Rozlynn Lund, Allie Stalboerger, Nicole Stalboerger, Bryna DelCastillo, Elise Weimholt, McKenzie Haas Sam Lefaive, Kalley Harris and Rachel Anderson.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony
Coach: Jason Liston, first season
Outlook: Liston takes over head coaching duties after Don Fineran retired after 32 years leading the team.
The team placed third in the North Suburban Conference and didn’t have a state participant.
Senior sprinter Ashely Fleischfresser is looking to build on her times in the 200 and 400 and increase her triple jump distance.
Melissa Marsh will anchor the distance group after a sixth place finish in the 1600 run at the Section 5AA meet.
New coaches include Bob Bichler (distance) and Dustin Sluzewicz (sprints and horizontal jumps). Bichler is a new physics teacher at the high school.
Sluzewicz recently graduated from Bemidji State where he played football with Brian Leonhardt. “He is already making a difference in the program with his background [200 meter state finalist in Illinois],” Liston said. “His fresh perspective is paying dividends.”

St. Francis
Coach: Andrew Forbort, ninth season
Outlook: The post-Maggie Ewen era begins this spring for the Saints after enjoying her record-setting prep throwing career for the better part of the last four seasons.
Most of the team returns from last season to provide depth across the events, but the losses from graduation will be deep.
Among those returning, senior Jessica Justin is the lone individual from the state meet. She placed 16th in the 200-meter dash and three-quarters of the 15th-place 4×100 relay team.
Justin anchored the squad that returns freshmen Taylor Karasch and Emma Street.
St. Francis and St. Cloud State graduate Brittney Moffatt returns to the Saints as the distance coach and Patrick Coffee will man the pole vaulters after coaching at Anoka and Milaca.
The Saints finished third in the North Suburban Conference Championships and hope to maintain that level in the new home conference, Mississippi 8.

Legacy Christian
Coach: Dennis Meints, third season
Outlook: The three-time defending Minnesota Chrstian Athletic Association champions hope to make it four with several returning standouts including captains senior Kiana Ruf and junior Natalie Johnson. Ruf was fifth in the 800 at sections and Johnson competes in a range of events. Legacy added PACT Charter School to form a cooperative team that includes four PACT students.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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