21 March 2014

Girls Track: Outlook bright in Tiger camp

Defending Section 1AA 400-meter champion Isabelle Ferm (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Piles of snow outside are doing nothing to dampen the enthusiasm inside as the Tigers prepare for what they expect to be another successful season.

Coach Tom Hart returns a host of veterans from last year's squad that finished runner-up at both the Missota Conference Relays and the conference end-of-the-year championships. This year Hart is looking to do even better.

"I hope to challenge for the conference titles and battle for the right to represent section 1AA in the state true team meet," he said. "And as always, qualifying for as many events for the state meet is always a prize we seek."

Included among the 29 returning veterans from last spring's team are six seniors: Kathryn Beckett, Morgan Cecchettini, Kelli Elmer, Isabelle Ferm, Aly Grebner and Maricia Pacheco.

Ferm anchored the Farmington 4x400 relay team that finished second at the state meet last spring and is the defending Section 1AA champion at 400 meters. Grebner is the defending conference shot put champion while Pacheco is a veteran of the state cross country meet.

Alicia Hett (top) and Megan Graham joined with Ferm to finish second in Class AA 4x400 meter relay (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Junior returnees include Sydney Bockelman, Sofia Chadwick, Nicole Doran, Ashley Ellefson, Megan Graham, Alicia Hett, Alexis Johnson, Destiny Schmitz and Jordan Walls.

Hett and Graham joined Ferm on the school record-setting 4x400 relay team last spring and Schmitz won the team's Most Improved award last spring as a sophomore.

Other returning letterwinners from last year's conference runner-ups include sophomores Racquel Beckett, Kaitlin Bessler, Makayla Ford, Emma Goralski, Ratinaqu Hach, Leah Kiage, Jennifer Miller, Ruiyang Qiu, Maricella Pacheco, Elizabeth Welter and Nicole Willis and ninth-graders Sammi Hytinen, Rachel Kiminski and Emma Record.

Newcomers expected to contribute include senior Abby Kampa; junior Kendall Novak; sophomores Amanda Flanscha, Lexi Hermoza and Morgan Mach and seventh graders Lauren Petersen and Anna Palodichuk.

"It appears we are going to have depth this year," Hart said. "We have a lot of girls out and many look ready to contribute right now. Our upperclassmen have been very good leaders and this has allowed our early practices to be very competitive."

Destiny Schmitz "Most Improved" in 2013 (photo by Jim Lindquist)
"Keeping everyone healthy the entire season will be a necessity. We could be a good team by the end of the year if we can keep our athletes healthy. With so many ladies out, keeping our team concept will also be important.

Hart said a handful of other teams could offer the Tigers a challenge in the run for Missota Conference honors with Chaska, Chanhassen and Shakopee all expected to be strong. Perennial powers Lakeville South and Lakeville North expect to be the favorites in the Section 1AA chase.

Hart will has a veteran group of assistants returning, including boys coach Brian Helmstetter, Lisa and Adam Lippold, Julian Buss, Kelli and Torrion Amie, Henry Schneider, Vicki Lippert, Mallory Skoff and Callie Doffing.

After a couple of indoor scrimmages, the Tigers officially open their 2014 season Saturday, March 29, at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.