Girls set to defend titles
Finishing first in the South Central Conference Meet, first in the Section True Team Meet and second at the State True Team Meet.
It could be pretty hard to top last year’s season.
But, Blue Earth Area girls track and field head coach Tom Plocker thinks this year’s squad can be just as good.
“We have another strong nucleus of girls back, plus we have really good talented middle schoolers coming in. We should be pretty solid in most events,” he says.
Plocker, who is entering his 24th season as head coach, has good reason to be optimistic.
Of the 24 varsity letterwinners returning for the Bucs, only seven are seniors.
“It looks like we’ll be very competitive in the sprints, hurdles and relays. We’ll also be good in the distance runs,” says Plocker.
Leading the way will be five-time letterwinners Courtney Grandgenett, Marissia Hagedorn, Annemarie Hoyt and Sara Warmka.
Hagedorn won the gold medal in the 100-meter high hurdles at Sections last year and also took second place in the pole vault. At State, she was second in the pole vault and took sixth place in the 100 highs.
The senior standout also earned All-Conference honors by taking first in the pole vault and 100 highs, and third place in the 300-meter hurdles.
Hoyt is a returning member of the 4 x 100 relay that took first to earn All-Conference.
Warmka was on the 4 x 200 relay that placed second for All-Conference.
Senior Nicole Carr enters the season with three varsity letters, while Jenny Smith and Hannah Twedt each have two.
Smith made All-Conference as part of the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays.
The junior class has three lettermen with four-time winner and standout Krista Hassing, Mara Fenske with three and Riley Mack with one.
Hassing won silver medals in the 400-meter dash and 4 x 400-meter relay, and was third in the 800-meter run to make All-Conference.
Sierra Halvorson begins her sophomore season with three letters, while Zoe Thompson has earned one.
Three freshmen – Kaitlyn Olsen, Signe Olson and Frannie Tetzlaff – will be vying for their third letter.
The squad is loaded with eighth-graders with varsity experience.
Entering the season with one varsity letter are Nyla Anderson, Paige Darrington, Anne Franta, Taylor Grandgenett, Sydney Henningsen, Miranda Johnson, Karli Olsen and Erin Olson. Newcomer Shayna Stevermer is expected to add depth and contribute.
Franta was part of the 4 x 200 quartet that took silver to make All-Conference, while Karli Olsen was on the 4 x 400 All-Conference squad.
In the conference, Plocker expects Fairmont, Waseca and St. James to challenge the Bucs.
If BEA makes their seventh straight State True Team appearance, they’ll have fend off stiff competition with United South Central and New Richland-Hartland- Ellendale-Geneva being among the teams.
Assisting Plocker this year with coaching duties will be Lenne Holland, Brian Kokos, Jack Anderson, Steven Woods and Adam Murphy.