Tracksters off and running, …
To say the Blue Earth Area girls track and field team last year had a good year would be an understatement.
The Bucs won eight meets and their ‘lowest’ placing was second — in the South Central Conference Meet, Section 2A Meet and State True Team championship.
As a result of his team’s success, head coach Tom Plocker was selected by his peers as the 2008 Class A girls track ‘Coach of the Year.’
The 2008 squad took second place among nine teams competing in the State True Team competition.
“Expectations will be high, but we’ll have to prepare and be ready to compete in every meet. We’ll have to wait and see how everything works out,” Plocker says.
Gone from last year’s team are nine seniors who earned a total of 31 varsity letters.
Plocker will have to fill some big shoes, most notably six-time varsity letterwinner Meagan Grandgenett.
The Bucs will be led by senior Miranda Murray, who has five varsity letters to her credit. She was a member of the 4 x 400-meter relay squad that took a silver medal in the conference meet and earned All-Conference honors.
Other seniors on the team include four-time letterwinner Nikita Welder; Alicia Johnson with two letters and Erika Myers.
The junior class includes Kate Hassing, Meghan Mittelstadt, Caitlynne Tyler, Mandy Warmka, Brooke Gies, Mackenzie Jenkins and April Royer.
Hassing, Mittelstadt, Tyler and Warmka each have four varsity letters.
Hassing last year qualified for the State Meet held at Hamline University in St. Paul. She set a new school record and took home a seventh-place medal in the triple jump competition and was 12th overall in the 200-meter dash.
In the conference meet, Hassing earned gold medals in the 200-meter dash and triple jump, and silver medals in the 400-meter dash and as a member of the 4 x 400-meter relay.
Mittelstadt was the lead-off runner of the 4 x 200-meter relay team that took first place at the SCC meet. At Sections, her 4 x 100 foursome earned a bronze medal and the 4 x 200 was fourth.
Sophomores Lexi Hol-land, Rylee Wagner and LaNay Walker each start the season with three varsity letters.
Holland excelled in the sprints, taking sixth place in the 100-meter dash at the Section meet. She anchored the 4 x 200 squad that took first place at the SCC Meet and fourth at Section, and was the anchor of the 4 x 100-meter relay finishing third at Section.
Wagner was part of the 4 x 400-meter relay team taking silver at the conference meet.
In the Section True Team competition, Walker set a school record with a height of 8-6 in the pole vault.
Other sophomore letterwinners include Kelly Aukes and Katie Krieger with two apiece, Mercedes Briseno with one and Kelsey Engesser with a junior varsity letter. MacKenzie Determan and Marissa Reeves also are on the team.
The freshman class has a quartet of athletes each having two varsity letters.
Courtney Grandgenett leads the group that includes: Marissia Hage-dorn, Annemarie Hoyt, Sara Warmka, Moira Jans, Megan Skalicky and Nicole Carr.
Grandgenett posted the sixth best overall time in the 800-meter run at Section, while Hagedorn tied the school record in the pole vault with an 8-6 at the State True Team meet.
Hoyt proved to be versatile, competing in the discus and on two relay teams.
She was the second leg on both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays. The 4 x 200 won gold at the conference meet and was fourth at Sections, while the 4 x 100 relay registered the third fastest time at Sections.
Sara Warmka was able to win a silver medal at the conference meet as a member of the 4 x 400 relay. At Sections, her 4 x 200 relay squad placed fourth.
Jans has collected one junior varsity letter and Skalicky a junior high certificate.
Krista Hassing is the lone eighth-grader with a varsity letter. Mara Fenske, Jessie Griffin, Jastin Meyer, Cassie Thompson and Courtney Wasylow have each earned a junior varsity letter.
Seventh-grader Sierra Halvorson also is out for the team.