Rochester girls track and field preview: Century the cream of the crop, but Mayo and John Marshall looking up
Century is looking to defend its Big Nine Conference girls track-and-field championship. But the Panthers are not the only Rochester girls program that is feeling good about its prospects.
Head coach: Kris Allen. Assistants: Kassi Brown, Brent McGrew, Alex O'Connell, Stacy Fox, Toby Hatlevig, Ray Ashworth, Chris Whitfield, Emma Christensen.
Last season: Big Nine champions, sixth place at state, 4x100 relay a state champion, four All-State relays.
Key returners: Sr. Maddy Habberstad (pole vault, long jump, sprints); Jr. Megan Lund (sprints, long jump); Sr. Favor Omoijunfo (sprints); So. Sophia Trabuco (800); So. Sophia Comfere (400, 800); Jr. Audrey Whitney (long jump, triple jump, sprints); Sr. Elise Jensen (throws); So. Jazzlyn Hanneberger (distance); Jr. Adeline Crow (distance).
Outlook: The Panthers graduated some excellent performers a year ago but still are loaded with talent. That includes three of the four sprinters who captured the 4x100 state title last year, Favor Omoijunfo, Madison Habberstad and Megan Lund. Habberstad is one of the top all-around track and field performers in the entire state, She was sixth at state in the long jump (17-feet-5 1/2) and ninth in the pole vault (she went 10-9 in the section meet). She was also part of the Century state champion 4x100 team. Led by a pack of outstanding seniors, the Panthers have enough well-rounded talent to successfully defend their Big Nine Conference title.
Coach Allen says: “We have a fantastic group of captains and returning upperclassmen to lead our relatively young, and new to track, program. The future at Century track and field looks bright!"
Head coach: Dakota Hiller. Assistants: Nolan Fox, Mikaela Raddatz, Sam Sonnabend, Brandon Stanek, Lucas Fisher, Ray Ashworth, Kyle Riggott, Liana Blomgren, James Dammen, Eddie Bryson.
Last season: 11th in the Big Nine meet, eight in the Section 1AAA meet. Abi Tri won the 3,200 at sections, qualifying for state as a seventh-grader. Alana Acker went 5 feet in the high jump.
Key returners: 8th grade Abi Tri (1,600, 3,200); Jr. Ryana Mathis (1,600, 3,200); Sr. Alana Acker (high jump).
Outlook: Things are looking up for the Rockets, with a big jump in the number of athletes out for track and field (117 this season). There are also now 14 coaches on staff, up from just three last year. There is young talent on this team, led by eighth-grade distance star Abi Tri, who won the 3,200 at the Section 1AAA meet last year. Junior Ryana Mathis is another strong distance runner. Alana Acker, a senior, is a solid high jumper with promise.
Coach Hiller says: “We have a lot of young talent showing already and I am so proud of the team that has cultivated this year so far. I'm so proud of the returners leading by example and setting the tone for the younger athletes to follow. It's going to be a fun and exciting year to see what JM can do!”
Head coach: Jered Smiley. Assistant coaches: Krisite Kinneberg, Matthew Olson, Jeffrey Schlicter, Cory Urban, Bob Sheehan, Jeff Ubinger, Erica Kahler, Leah Speltz, Ahn McGeeney, Braeden Mengis
Last season's highlights: Fourth in the Big Nine meet, sixth in the Section 1AAA meet. Most team points scored at conference since 2011. Star Hannah Hanson broke school records in both hurdles events and placed in the top five at state in both. Farah Salam was a state qualifier in the long jump. Jadyn Lester was second at the conference meet in the high jump and Madi Meyer was second in the 200 at the Big Nine meet.
Key returners: Sr. Hannah Hanson (hurdles, triple jump, long jump); Sr. Farah Salama (sprints, long jump, triple jump); Jr. Jadyn Lester (high jump); Sr. Madi Meyer (sprints); Jr. Claire Siems (sprints).
Outlook: The Spartans should be more well rounded with their scoring this year, with solid contributors in almost every event. The headliner remains Hannah Hanson. A senior, Hanson is among the top five hurdlers in the state and also excels in long jump and triple jump. Mayo also has one of the top high jumpers in the Big Nine and Section 1AAA in junior Jadyn Lester and three good sprinters — senior Farah Salama, senior Madi Meyer and junior Claire Siems. Siems was among the team’s top point getters last year.
Coach Smiley says: “I’m already super proud of the identity of this team. We have an amazing group of talented, motivated and supportive individuals who will propel this team to new heights this year. Our amazingly hard-working athletes, with the leadership of our senior class, will show you why I'm so proud of these Spartans.”
Head coach: Pete Gilman. Assistants: Demonte Nelson, Joe Lonzo.
Last season: Fifth in the HVL meet, fifth in the Section 1A meet. Grace Buntrock finished third in the 200 in the Section 1A meet. Anna Peikert was third in the 800 and Abby Oxentenko fourth in the 1,600. The Lourdes 4x100 relay team was third at state and the 4x200 team was third in Section 1A.
Key returners: Sr. Grace Buntrock (sprints); Sr. Lindsey Rossow (sprints); So. Anna Shedivy (sprints); So. Ella Shedivy (sprints); So. Anna Peikert (middle distance); Jr. Abigail Oxentenko (1,600, 3,200).
Outlook: The Eagles should again have some fantastic relay teams. The 4x100 team of Lindsey Rossow, Anna Shedivy, Ella Shedivy and Grace Buntrock all return this season. They were second in Section 1A last year and third at state. That same group was third in Section 1A in the 4x200. Buntrock is one of the best sprinters in the area and the soccer/track star is back for her senior season. Also returning for the Eagles is Anna Peikert and Abigail Oxentenko. Peikert, a sophomore, was third in the Section 1A meet in the 800 and Oxentenko, a junior, was fourth in the Section 1A 1,600.
Coach Gilman says: “We have depth returning in our sprint group as well as mid-distance. We may look to move some junior-high athletes up as we get into May with our varsity roster so small.”