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Paynesville Press - March 30, 2005

Girls' team sets sights on return trip to state

By Michael Jacobson

After winning the conference title and advancing to the state true team meet last year, the PAHS girls' track team expects another strong campaign in 2005.

Eighteen girls are competing on the varsity track team this spring. They began practice on Monday, March 14, and will have their first meet indoors at St. John's University on Saturday, April 2, starting at 6:30 p.m.

This year's team has three goals, according to coach Dave Randgaard, to repeat as section true team champions and advance to state again, to finish first or second in the conference, and to have fun.

"This is a very young, talented team," said Randgaard. "We have a lot of good athletes on this team. The girls' team has been working hard and are also a very coachable group. Being so young, we really do need to cover a lot of details that go into each event. We will get better as this season progresses."

tara The girls' team has 13 returning letterwinners, including its three captains: senior Kendra Johnson, junior Tara Schmidt, and sophomore Kacy Nehowig.

Junior captain Tara Schmidt - landing in the long jump pit - is one of 13 returning letterwinners to the girls' track team this spring, one of six returning All Conference performers, and one of two returning state entrants.

Johnson, the team MVP the past two years, was All Conference in three events last year (both the 100-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles and the high jump), and she was third at sections in the 300-meter hurdles, an event for which she holds the school record.

Schmidt, the team's top sprinter, was All Conference in the 200-meter dash and the long jump last year and advanced to state in the 200-meter dash. She also runs the 100-meter dash and the 400-meter dash.

Nehowig, the team's top distance runner, won the conference title in the 3,200-meter run last year and advanced to state in that event. She also earned All Conference honors as part of the 3,200-meter relay.

Sophomore Tanis Beireis (pole vault and the 3,200-meter relay), ninth grader Kaitlyn Frenchick (3,200-meter relay), and ninth grader Melanie Koerner (3,200-meter relay) also earned All Conference honors last year.

Other returning letterwinners for the Dogs are junior Kacie Wander, sophomore Tina Liestman, sophomore Randi Schaefer, ninth grader Leah Felling, ninth grader Natalie Leadem, eighth grader Kally Felling, and eighth grader Briana Jaeger.

Newcomers this year are senior Rachael Wendlandt, sophomores Andrea McCorquodale and Kirsten Miller, and eighth graders Erin Guzy and Anna Kotten.

With a top sprinter, top hurdler, top distance runner, and lots of depth, Randgaard expects this year's team to do very well in all the running events. They still need to figure their lineups for the relays, key events at true team, and they are looking to add depth in the field events.

The Dogs lost only two seniors to graduation last year - Jessica Paul and Peggy Thompson - but Paul was the conference champ in the pole vault and she and Thompson were the team's top two throwers last year. With the loss of some other athletes not out for the team this year, the Dogs are working to improve their field events.

In the throwing events (shot put and discus), for instance, the Dogs have Leadem returning, have Schaefer learning the events, and have Miller, who threw in junior high, back out. The Dogs are also working on their lineup in the hurdles, the jumps (long, triple, and high), and the relays.

Randgaard expects to use his team in the following events this year: Johnson (100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, high jump, and 1,600-meter relay); Wendlandt (high jump, long jump, triple jump, and 400-meter dash); Schmidt (100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, and long jump; Wander (100-meter dash, 400-meter relay, and 800-meter relay); Beireis (800-meter run, 1,600-meter run, 3,200-meter run, pole vault, relays, and hurdles); Liestman (pole vault and triple jump); McCorquodale (200-meter dash and 400-meter dash); Miller (discus, shot put, hurdles, and relays); Nehowig (800-meter run, 1,600-meter run, 3,200-meter run, and 3,200-meter relay); Schaefer (discus, high jump, shot put, and 400-meter relay); Leah Felling (200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, and 800-meter relay); Frenchick (800-meter run, 1,600-meter run, 3,200-meter run, triple jump, and relays); Koerner (200-meter dash, 400-meter run, 800-meter run, and relays); Leadem (discus, shot put, relays); Kally Felling (200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run, triple jump, and relays); Guzy (high jump, long jump, triple jump, 800-meter run, and 3,200-meter relay); Jaeger (100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, long jump, and relays); and Kotten (100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, and pole vault).

Randgaard, in his 19th year as the girls' track coach, will be assisted this spring by Kyle Nehowig.

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