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Area teams off and running in outdoor season

Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:06 p.m. CDT

The outdoor track season is just getting underway as Saturday marked the first day of big outdoor invites for area teams.

With the season just starting, it’s hard to believe that girls state meets are less than six weeks away (May 22 to 24). Here’s a look at what to expect over those next six weeks for area girls track and field teams.

Wheaton North

Falcons

Coach: Brian Zeglin

Top athletes:

Sarah Bradley sr. pole vault

Rebecca Berenschot sr. throws

Jill Humecke so. distance

Alison Farnsworth sr. distance

Lindsay Johnson sr. distance

Ayanna Steele so. sprints

Cara Maxwell so. sprints/

jumps

MJ Oviatt sr. sprints/ jumps

Nicole Karwowski sr. hurdles/

sprints/

jumps

Sarah Cassel jr. sprints/ jumps

Lenna Klein jr. pole vault

Lana Mattice sr. pole vault

Outlook:Wheaton North has over 100 athletes in the program this year, giving the team the ability to score points in a variety of ways.

The Falcons had two state qualifiers a year ago, with one of them returning in senior Sarah Bradley. She competed in the prelims of the pole vault, falling just short of advancing to the finals.

“We are led by a dedicated group of seniors,” Wheaton North coach Brian Zeglin said, “Although our depth in the field events keyed our success indoors, both our distance runners and sprinters have stepped it up in the first weeks of the outdoor season.  

“I am expecting the competitiveness of our daily practice to lead to some exciting surprises as we progress toward the state meet.”

Wheaton North competed at the St. Charles North invite on Saturday and placed third with 76 points.

Jill Humecke was second in the 1,600-meter run, Cara Maxwell had top-five finishes in both the 200 and 400 and Lindsay Johnson was fifth in the 800.

In the field events, Bradley was second in the pole vault, Mary Jane Oviatt came in second in the long jump, Sarah Cassel placed third in the high jump and Maxwell added a fourth in the triple jump. Rebecca Berenschot also was third in both the shot put and discus.

Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers

Coach: Rob Harvey

Top athletes:

Erin Zappia sr. high jump

Amy Smith sr. pole vault

Maggie Dansdill sr. sprints

Emma Dalan sr. hurdles/ middle distance

Alexandra Enright jr. hurdles/ high jump

Jessica jr. sprints

Winternheimer

Heidi Nassos jr. pole vault/ triple jump

Allison McGrath fr. distance

Emma Schroer so. middle distance

Sara Atkins fr. distance

Outlook: This is the beginning of a new era for the Tigers, who lost a star-studded senior class to graduation. Five individual state qualifers are gone from a year ago, including McKenna Kiple, who was the runner-up in the 800-meter run, and Hope Schmelzle, who finished eighth in the 1,600 and 13th in the 3,200.

Despite a healthy dose of new faces, Wheaton Warrenville South does return plenty of talent, led by 2013 field event state qualifiers Amy Smith and Erin Zappia. Smith was 13th in the Class 3A pole vault and Zappia finished 11th in the high jump.

WWS was fourth at the DVC indoor meet this spring with 69 points.

On Saturday, Wheaton Warrenville South came in first place at the Prospect Relays. The Tigers won the 1,600-meter medley relay along with the pole vault and the 4x200, 4x300 hurdles and 4x1,600 relays.

West Chicago Wildcats

Coach: Bob Maxson

Top athletes:

Emma McCarthy jr. sprints

Cindy Mendez so. sprints

Lindsey Sayner sr. sprints

distance

Outlook: The Wildcats are in their first year in the Upstate Eight Conference and placed 10th in the indoor meet. Cindy Mendez (400-meter dash), Emma McCarthy (800) and Michelle Franch (3,200) posted top-eight finishes.

“I am looking forward to this year and next year and to see our results improve both time-wise and in conference standings as we transition to the Upstate Eight,” West Chicago coach Bob Maxson said. “The Upstate has a lot of great athletes, but I believe we can hold our own.”

Mendez could open up some eyes after winning the DVC indoor 400 last year. Lindsey Sayner could also score points in the mile and 800.

St. Francis Spartans

Coach: Scott Nelson

Top athletes:

Meghan McShea sr. distance

Amanda Nunley sr. sprints/ hurdles

Outlook: With over 30 athletes on the roster, the Spartans have the chance to do some special things this spring.

Leading the cause of optimism is the return of a pair of state qualifiers in seniors Meghan McShea and Amanda Nunley. McShea came in 27th in the 3,200-meter run at state while Nunley just missed out on qualifying for the finals in the 100 high hurdles.

Wheaton Academy Warriors

Coach: Chris Felinski

Outlook: Felinski takes over a program that has a good amount of numbers but still is in the building stages.

One athlete to keep an eye on is freshman distance runner Sierra Stapleton, who ran a 5:50 in the 1,600-meter run in her first outdoor meet of the season.

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