If returning state meet experience is a benefit then the Brainerd Warrior girls' track and field team is in for a successful spring.
Brainerd, which opens Saturday in the Husky Classic at St. Cloud State, returns five girls who participated in the 2008 state meet. The group includes junior Kelsi Ring, who was seventh in the triple jump and 13th in the 100 hurdles; Madison Smith, who was sixth in the 100 hurdles and seventh in the 300 hurdles; Megan Holmes, who was 11th in the 1600 run; and the seventh-place 4x800 relay that returns Jenna Dean, Holmes and Hannah McAllister.
"We've got some depth everywhere," Warriors coach Dan Clabo said. "I think that's what got us through most meets last year as well. We're young yet, but our young girls are looking pretty good. It will be interesting to see how they perform later this year."
Brainerd's Nicole Marquart cleared the bar while practicing the high jump at Forestview Middle School on Wednesday. The Warriors open the season Saturday in the Husky Classic at St. Cloud State. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Others who are projected to be immediate contributors are senior Sam Smith, a sprinter who also was on a relay. She likely will be on the 4x100 this season as well as in the long and triple jumps and possibly pole vault.
Senior Bethany Luckemeyer will compete in hurdles, senior Gina Padrnos will be a thrower and senior Sara Parsons will be in the long jump and sprints.
Junior Allison Reuer will be one of the top sprinters and compete in long jump. Junior Alex Ford will be a thrower.
Sophomores who may contribute early include Lexie Rardin, Stephanie Northway, Anna Gessell and Olivia Elsenpeter as well as freshman Nicole Marquart.
"They're working hard in the weight room," Clabo said of his team. "We changed up our strength program a little bit. We're trying to spend less time in there but get the same amount of work done. I think our strength component will help us as well."
With the activity fee for track initially proposed to be $380 this spring (it was reduced to $250), Clabo said his team is about 20 short of the numbers it had last season.
"We had over 90 last year, which was probably the biggest group we've ever had," he said. "The cost of athletics has had a little bit of an impact on us. We maybe lost one or two girls who would have helped us, but for the most part our core group is back. We're sitting at about 60, which is still a pretty good number compared to other teams in our conference."
The Warriors will host three home meets, including the Central Lakes Conference championships May 21.
"We had our track refinished, and it looks nice down there," Clabo said. "It looks brand new. We'll see what happens when the snow leaves and the frost goes out. I hope there's not issues with the patchwork that was done."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch. com and at 855-5861.
Warrior girls' track and field
Head coach: Dan Clabo, second season, (16 years as assistant coach)
2008 finish: Section 8-3A True Team champion, seventh in True Team state meet, second in CLC; Section 8-2A champion
Returning state meet participants: Hannah McAllister, Kelsi Ring, Madison Smith, Megan Holmes, Jenna Dean
Assistant coaches: Kris Smith, Carl Schirmer, Steve Kimble, Dave Herath, Chet Stevenson, Howie Jacobs, Deryl Ramey, Rod Reuer
Seniors: Tina Borgstrom, Jenna Dean, Bethany Luckemeyer, Hannah McAllister, Gina Padrnos, Sara Parsons, Sam Smith
Juniors: Jamie Baden, Cami Ebinger, Erin Einarson, Amanda Finstad, Alex Ford, Allison Reuer, Jenna Riley, Kelsi Ring, Madison Smith
Sophomores: Rachel Bartosh, Arianna Brown, Kaycee Brunskill, Olivia Elsenpeter, Kate Fahlen, Jennifer Freiday, Megan Holmes, Rachael Howard, Kendra Juntunen, Allison Kunde, Nadia Loving, Alicia McDonald, Taylor McElfresh, Jennifer Murray, Stephanie Northway, Lexie Rardin, Toni Terwilliger, Alese Waters
Freshmen: Bailey Andres, Meghan Becker, Laura Boran, Ahreanna Chanredler, Maria Comeau, Rachel Ford, Holly Garry, Kate Hesse, Laura Huss, Gretchen Kletscher, Taylor Kramer, Briana Kruize, Nicole Marquart, Michaela Quast, Aryel Ruckdaschel, Tori Saxum, Betsy Schuldheisz, Hayley Sinner, Jaime Vansickle
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