Young squad confidently starts the season
After a sixth place finish in the Class LL Indoor Track championships, the Staples girls track team looks to continue that success as it moves outside.
Staples was 9-2 last year, took third at FCIACs and ninth at Class LL. The Lady Wreckers will especially miss middle to long distance runner Ingrid Johnson, who is running at Johns Hopkins University. They will also miss Emily Hanrahan, who ran middle to long distances.
Schachne, the Harvard University-bound pole vaulter, was the FCIAC and New England champion in the pole vault last year and this past winter, was the FCIAC, Class LL and state Open champion. As her high school career winds down, Schachne is poised to further improve.
Smith, who was all-FCIAC in indoor this season and who will run the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters races in the outdoor campaign. She said, "I expect to run best times and as a captain, to be a positive contributor to the team, both on and off the track."
For the most part, the core of the team is composed of young athletes, which makes for a promising future, but also will lead to a learning curve this outdoor season.
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Staples coach Jesse McCray said, "We are very young so everyday is a pleasant surprise because we are learning something about our athletes as they are learning as well."
Some of these newcomers to look out for are sophomores Caroline Koenig and Tyler Scanlin, who are the teams strongest long distance and sprinters respectively.
Other strong runners include Popkin and Mullen, who made their mark on the 4x800 meter relay team. The 4x800 won FCIACs this winter and placed sixth at New Englands last year.
Off the oval, the Lady Wreckers are confident in other areas as well, with lofty hopes for senior Misha Strage in the triple jump, and freshman Elizabeth Knoll in the high jump.
There are more than 80 athletes on the team. McCray expects Lochoff, juniors Emily Troelstra, Georgia Kursten, Amanda Giannitti and Kelly Harris, along with sophomores Caitlin Hartmann and Melissa Mann to have a good season across various events.
McCray praised the effort of his athletes, but uttered some caution and said, "This group has a great work ethic, they pay attention to detail but we realize that it is a long process and we are patient."
But that doesn't stop him from having big hopes for the season. He said, "When we get to the championship our goal is to be one of the top team teams in our league."
However optimistic, McCray doesn't want the athletes to get too ahead of themselves. He said, "We want to take each meet one week at a time and hopefully at the end of the day we will find a way to be a little bit better than the other team."