Because track and field is an individual as well as team sport, North Side coaches are approaching the Greater Spokane League girls season differently.
Mead and Shadle Park have the numbers to chase a team championship.
Lacking depth to compete against the two schools, Rogers and North Central are pointing toward end-ofseason state qualifying meets.
The defending champion Panthers will be challenged by as many as four teams.
“I’m excited about our group but don’t want to be too optimistic,” said Panther Coach Annette Pedersen.
Shadle Coach Ivan Corley isn’t afraid to be excited.
“We have the quality and the depth to put Shadle’s program in a position it hasn’t been in in quite awhile,” he said. “It could be interesting.”
Rogers first-year coach Dave Wolkenauer and NC coach Joe Shauble said their teams cannot win many dual meets, but have have individuals with state potential.
Mead chasing repeat title
If the Panthers shore up the discus and shot put, they have enough talent elsewhere to contend for the GSL title.
“We’re pretty strong in the middle distance and distances,” said Pedersen. “We’re all right in the sprints. The hurdles and javelin are good.”
Returning from last year are a number of state qualifiers, sprinter Jen Dunford, 800-meter runner Annaka Gustafson, 3,200 runners Lynde Johnson (while at University High) and Emily Thompson, 300 hurdler Autumn Wood, and javelin throwers Allison Beatty and Shannon Roberts.
Also back is sprinter Megan Troy who heads a group that includes sprinter-hurdlers Jessica Aguirre, Mandy Larson, Phoebe Pedersen, Kim Stiles and incoming sophomore Alicia Simchuk.
Other middle dash and distance runners include Stacy Haney, Brenna Robinson, Stephanie Goaslind and Libby Lowe.
In the field, the Panthers have high jumpers Gustafson, fifth in regional, Jesse Boggs and sophomore Emily Williams, who earlier jumped 5-foot-1.
Horizontal jumpers are Gina Sperrazzo, Betsy Haney and sophomore Jamie Wakefield.
Finding shot putters and discus throwers is Mead’s biggest concern, with only Mandy Ala back.
“It’s anybody’s race,” said Pedersen of the impending GSL dual season. “Track just depends upon if someone is hurt, if you drop the baton or someone doesn’t show up. You never know.”
Rogers hard-pressed to repeat
The Pirates of new coach Wolkenhauer will be hard-pressed to duplicate the 4-4 season of a year ago.
“We’re thin with some real cream at the top,” he said, noting a sixthplace finish in the 14-team Banana Belt Relays. “We have some athletes who we hope will get to state.”
High jump-triple jumper Jennifer Kurtzhall, javelin thrower Sheanna Boedcher, discus thrower Kelley Hughes and shot putter Fawn Gray are the Pirate state hopefuls.
LaToya Bennett is part of a large freshman turnout and the team’s lone established sprinter.
In the hurdles, Brandi Patterson returns, joined by promising freshman Amber Conrath.
Distances include Katie Dahl, Carrie Curtis and Cora Gaines.
“That’s pretty much our varsity team,” said Wolkenhauer
Shadle Park has high hopes
A large turnout and veteran team, including eight regional qualifiers, has Corley optimistic.
Included are district javelin runner-up Kristin Miller, senior sprinter Jennifer Crum, sophomore sprinter-high jumper Vanessa Larkin, and 800-meter runner Amy Sawatzky and shot-discus thrower Melissa Hendrickson.
Distance events are strong, what with the return of cross country stateplacing junior Sarah Hall, sophomores Ali Krogel, Tiffany Steele, freshman Christa Eide and seniors Jen Lupfer and Janell Stang.
“They’re a great group,” said Corley. “They know what competition’s all about.”
Sprints are also deep, including sophomores Megan Sturm, Emilee Steckler, Liz Longtain and Sarah Pattison.
“They’ve proven themselves as freshmen,” said Corley. “All were district qualifiers in different races.”
New are sophomore Vanessa Hanks and freshman Emily Christensen.
Hurdlers are senior Haley Underhill and sophomore Rachel Holje.
Multi-faceted Teresse Miller, Kristin’s twin, is back after a year’s absence in the throws and jumps.
Throwers include seniors Kirsten Liane, Sarah Garland, juniors Christina Withey, Mary Johnson and freshman April Gallagher.
Other jumpers are Withey and newcomer Jenny Bond.
North Central looking for league win
The Indians went winless in the GSL a year ago and will likely struggle again.
“We’re really slim there,” said Coach Joe Schauble of his team.
State hopeful Lori Kostelecky leads the strongest area for the team, the distances. Others include regional 800 participant Tassie Mueller, Kristen Cacalek, Krys Allen, Dorri Deno and Jessica Mason, who also high jumps.
Regional qualifier Heather Brotherton is back in the sprints and has run the 300-meter hurdles this year. Fellow sprinters include Renee Emery-Cloy and Megan DeLauder, who also is a long and triple jumper.
Shot put and discus thrower Carrie Payne is one of the league’s better performers. She’s joined by Kieley Fox and javelin throwers Sarah Michelbook, Heather McCauley and Kady Thompson.
Amber Johnson high jumps, runs the 400 and will help in the relays.