Taking a Closer Look at Area Girls Track Teams

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Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

City High

Coach: Terry Coleman (17th season)

Assistant coaches: Tom Mittman, Norm Balke, Nathan Cooper, Kelly Larson, Elaine Rydze, Lucy Joseph, Thos Trefz

Key returners: Azzura Sartini-Rideout, Soph.; Brooke Bormann, Soph.; Jordan DuBrava, Soph.; Sydney Fellows, Soph.; Isabel Hansen, Soph.; Annalise Rummelhart, Jr.; Bridget Brown, Sr.; Isabel Jones, Jr.; Lindsey Parrott, Sr.; Emma Clark, Jr.; Emma Cooper, Jr.; Anna Lindower, Jr. Kate Swenning, Jr.; Kinsee Brands, Sr.; Sydney DePrenger, Sr.; Tiara Green, Sr.; Gabriel McCormick, Sr.;

Newcomers to watch: Alia Vanderhoef, Fr.; Ce Ce Kelly-Harvey, Fr.; Ayana Lindsey, Fr.; Esti Brady, Soph.; Caroline Schaeckenbach, Soph.; Jae Dancer, Fr.; Lilly Reynolds, Fr.; Ella Cook, Fr.; Janie Perrill, Fr.

Headliners: Juniors Emma Clark and Emma Cooper were members of three state qualifying relay teams a year ago and anchor a strong group of Little Hawk sprinters.

Keep an eye on: Junior Anna Lindower was a two-event state qualifier last season running on the City High 4x800 relay team and placing 12th in the 1,500 in 4:56.35.  

Circle the date: May 3. Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Divisional Meet at Cedar Rapids Prairie. The Little Hawks look to bounce back in a big way from an uncharacteristic sixth-place finish at last year’s MVC divisional meet.

Outlook: Terry Coleman is back leading the City High program after directing the Little Hawks to seven MVC titles and four state championships during a decade long run as head coach that ended in 2012.

City High returns a strong nucleus from last year’s team and should get a big boost from a talented group of newcomers.

Sophomore Azzura Sartini-Rideout was a member of four state qualifying relay teams a year ago while senior Tiara Green was a part of three relay teams that reached the state meet.

West High

Coach: Mike Parker (21st season)

Assistant coaches: Peggy McGuire, Danica Haight, Morgan Stroud, Lauren Bobst

Key returners: Kia Noibi, Sr.; Bailey Nock, Sr.; Peyton Steva, Jr.; Chandler Haight, Sr.; Kitra Bell, Sr.; Deniz Ince, Sr.; Claire Ronnebaum, Sr.; Katie Severt, Jr.

Headliner: Bailey Nock is already one of the top distance runners in West High history and will look to add to her stellar career this season. The defending 4A state champion in the 1,500 and the 3,000 Nock also anchored the West High distance medley team to a state title and finished fourth in the 800 in an impressive junior season.

Keep an eye on: Haight has made a jump in the shot put in each of her first three seasons and will attempt to add an elusive state title after finishing runner-up in the event last year with a toss of 42-3 ½.   

Circle the date: May 3. Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Divisional at West High. The Women of Troy will have home track advantage as they seek their third straight MVC divisional crown.

Outlook: Coming off its best state meet performance since winning a state title in 2010 the Women of Troy are hungry for and certainly capable of more this spring. West High returns eight athletes with state meet experience from its Class 4A runner-up squad from last season.

Nock leads the list of returners after winning a pair of individual titles a year ago but will have plenty of help as West High pushes for a state title.

Haight and senior Kitra Bell are state title contenders and Peyton Steva, Kia Noibi, Deniz Ince, Katie Severt and Claire Ronnebaum all return with state meet experience.

Liberty High

Coach: Keaton Rickels (1st season)

Assistant coaches: Tonya McDonough, Jeremy Mims, Jenn Roche, Nate Oswald

Key returners: Taylor Cannon, Soph.; Breeyn Gryp, Sr.; Elizabeth Davis, Soph.; Jada Murphy, Soph.

Newcomers to watch: Chaise Lange, Fr.; Camile Mac, Fr.; McKenzie Logan, Fr.

Headliner: A rare senior on a roster full of underclassmen, Breeyn Gryp is a leader with valuable experience for the Lightning after competing in the Drake Relays and state meet as a freshman at West High.

Keep an eye on: Sophomore Taylor Cannon was a member of the West High shuttle hurdle relay team that reached the finals at the state meet last season.

Circle the date: March 29. Lady Lancer Relays at North Scott. The Lightning make their program debut at the 10-team Invitational.

Outlook: The Lightning are of course young, with a roster filled primarily with freshman and sophomores but first-year coach Keaton Rickels is excited about the talent that is already in place.

Cannon, Gryp and Elizabeth Davis all have Drake Relays and state meet experience from their time at West High and sophomore Solon transfer Jada Murphy will be a key contributor as well.

Freshmen McKenzie Logan and Camille Mac had strong cross country seasons in the fall and should bolster the Liberty distance group.

Clear Creek Amana

Coach: Jane Astor (28th season)

Assistant coaches: Teri Schultejans, Bob Broghammer

Key returners: Danielle Wnek, Sr.; Riley Hennes, Sr.; Madelynn Langridge, Sr.; Andrea Roller, Sr.; Olivia Fairholm, Sr.; Kaylie Barker, Jr.; Cierra Lacina, Jr.; Alexandra Loren, Jr.; Rylee Rummelhart, Jr.; Mariah Russell, Soph.; Ainsley Schrock, Soph.; Karsyn Stratton, Soph.

Newcomers to watch: Grace Stewart; Madeline Fox; Kayla Jiras; Katelyn LeFleur

Headliner: Sophomore Ainsley Schrock capped a strong debut campaign with a sixth-place finish at the state meet in the discus with a toss of 117-8.

Keep an eye on: Another sophomore coming off a strong freshman season Karsyn Stratton provides the Clippers with lineup flexibility that has resulted in improved depth. Primarily a sprinter and long jumper, Stratton could also be a key in relays.

Circle the date: April 6. Creek Classic Relays at Clear Creek Amana.

Outlook: More depth and an influx of promising young talent has veteran coach Jane Astor expecting big things from her team this season.

Astor believes relays will be a strength this season and likes what she has seen from the Clippers field events led by Schrock and Stratton.

Returning seniors Danielle Wnek, Riley Hennes, Madelynn Langridge, Andrea Roller and Olivia Fairholm will all be important as Clear Creek Amana attempts to improve on its 12th place finish at the WAMAC meet last season.

Solon

Coach: Brent Sands (17th season)

Assistant coaches: Dan Dall, Joe Hanes, Denny Gruber, Brad Wymer

Key returners: Erin Kerkhoff, Jr.; Gabbi Bullard, Soph.; Rachael Nelson, Jr.; Molly Duckett, Sr.; Peyton Sands, Soph.; Taylor Ryan, Jr.; Cayley Annis, Soph.; Abby Smith, Jr.; Olivia Felton, Sr.; Sophie Nicol, Sr.; Emma Winders, Sr.; Emily Troyer, Sr.; Elli Becicka, Jr.; Calista Haasl, Jr.; Jeannie Jedlicka, Jr.; Taryn Hansen, Jr.; Saige Hauer, Jr.; Hannah Kramer, Jr.; Khaylor Fleck, Soph.; Aira Foster, Soph.; Jenna LaDage, Soph.

Newcomers to watch: Kiersten Conway, Fr.; Ellie Wolff, Fr.; Ashley Stinocher, Fr.; Heather Bachus, Fr.; Emma Fritz, Fr.; Monet Barnhouse, Fr.

Headliner: Junior Erin Kerkhoff has earned a state medal in the 400 in each of her first two seasons, placing sixth last season while also helping the Spartans school record-setting 4x400 relay team to a runner-up finish.

Keep an eye on: Sophomore Gabi Bullard finished seventh in the 400 hurdles in her first appearance at the state meet.

Circle the date: May 3. WAMAC Meet at Solon. A year after finishing runner-up at the powerful conference meet the Spartans will be at home as they attempt to climb into the top spot.

Outlook: Solon brings back a strong group from its WAMAC runner-up squad that finished 16th at the state meet with 14 points last season.

The Spartans return four of their six individual state qualifiers from a year ago and have all four runners from its state runner-up 4x400 relay team returning.

Seniors Molly Duckett and Sophie Nicol, juniors Rachael Nelson, Taylor Ryan and Abby Smith and sophomore Cayley Annis and Alexis Sands all join Kerkhoff and Bullard as Spartans returning with state meet experience.

West Branch

Coach: Ben Holub (1st season)

Assistant coaches: Jeff Wrede, Dan Zuniga, Nikki Koenig

Key returners: Tatum Koenig, Sr.; Hannah Tisinger, Sr.; Taylor Tisinger, Sr.; Kaiya Luneckas, Soph.; Jaylen Votroubek, Soph.; Mackenzie Heise, Soph.; Riley Vaughan, Jr.; Mikayla Prusha, Soph.; Aubrey Baylor, Soph.; Autumn Kolpin, Jr.; Lexie Wehde, Jr.

Newcomers to watch: Hallie Hebl, Sr.; Kira Howsare, Sr.; Mikayla Hunter, Sr.; Clara Kobbernagel, Sr.; Ally Kroemer, Sr.; Sophie Nopoulos, Sr.

Headliner: Senior Tatum Koenig was a four-event qualifier a year ago and the unquestioned leader of a young West Branch squad. Koenig was a state qualifier in the long jump and ran on three different relay teams at the state meet.

Keep an eye on: Sophomores Jaylen Votroubek and Kaiya Luneckas were both members of the Bears; state qualifying 4x200, 4x400 and shuttle hurdle relay teams last season as freshmen.

Circle the date: May 10. River Valley Conference meet at West Liberty. West Branch doesn’t have to go far for the RVC meet and will try to improve on its sixth-place finish from a season ago.

Outlook: New head coach Ben Holub has a solid nucleus to build around in his first season leading the program with a trio of athletes returning with state meet experience.

Koenig headlines the list of returners and teams with Votroubek and Luneckas to give West Branch three returning runners on a trio of state qualifying relay teams.

Holub expects to get a boost from a deep and talented class of freshmen along with a solid group of upperclassmen making their varsity debuts.