Athletes on the 2017 Lady Longhorn track team include, front from left, Madison Brown, Rylie Mintling, Kaley Hauxwell, Peyton Fiedler, Taylor Williams, Sydnie Allen, Ashley Bubak, second row from left,  Asst. Coach Drew Ahlers, Sarah Allen, Katelyn Wheeler, Megan Engbrecht, Lauren Gockley, Adelaide Maxwell, Kadyn Milner, Kaylee Meeske, Kayla Schilke, Asst. Coach Sam McNair, third row from left, Emma DeGrasse, Molly Luhrs, Destiny Reinke, Mallie McNair, Brooklyn Christensen, Sophie Spady, Nicole Brown-Cravey, back from left, Taylin McNair, Ruth Dodge, Andrea Page, Ragan Nickless, Jadin Bussell, Bridgette Odens, Madison Schuller, Jozie Schilke, Carissa Hill and Head Coach Troy Hauxwell. Not pictured—Macy Coleman, Allison Owings, Josie Peterson and Giovanna Welsh. (Johnson Publications photo)

Not many weak spots on girls’ track team this year

Returning Class C state champions have all qualifiers back

    Coach Troy Hauxwell’s big challenge this track season isn’t trying to fill weak spots on the team.
    There aren’t many.
    His biggest challenge will be fitting so many talented athletes into events. Some could be in just one event at some meets, he said.
    There are 35 athletes on the girls’ team this season.
    With all 11 state qualifiers back, who earned Chase County its first state track championship last season, the team is set to have another great year.
    Chase County will get its first test today (Thursday) when the Lady Longhorns compete at a five-team meet in Grant hosted by Perkins County High School.
    Last year’s qualifiers back include state champion high jumper Katelyn Wheeler, along with the Class C gold medal 1600 meter relay team of Taylor Williams, Taylin McNair, Kadyn Milner and Destiny Reinke.
    The same relay runners also took third in the 3200 relay at state last year.
    Reinke medaled in two other individual events at state, as well, earning silver in the 1600 and bronze in the 800.
    The 400 meter relay team of Williams, McNair, Wheeler and Adelaide Maxwell took the runner-up spot and silver medals in Omaha.
    Josie Peterson finished third in the pole vault at state, giving the team another bronze medal in 2016.
    Other state qualifiers back include Peyton Fiedler in the hurdles, Andrea Page in discus, Sarah Allen in the triple jump and Allison Owings, shot.
    Coach Hauxwell said a strong freshman class will only add to the team’s depth. That team depth helped the Lady Longhorns win every meet they were in last year, capped by the state championship.
    He’s seeing that depth especially in all three relays, where they are five to six deep in each.  
    That enviable dilemma is present in a number of other events, too, with so many talented athletes on the team.
    “We want to find as many opportunities as we can for everyone to be involved and feel they are contributing,” he said.
    Here is a breakdown of the team by class:
    Seniors—Sarah Allen, Jadin Bussell, Megan Engbrecht, Molly Luhrs, Taylin McNair, Kaylee Meeske, Kadyn Milner, Bridgette Odens, Josie Peterson, Destiny Reinke, Katelyn Wheeler.
    Juniors—Nicole Brown-Cravey, Peyton Fiedler, Lauren Gockley, Kaley Hauxwell, Ragan Nickless, Andrea Page, Kayla Schilke, Giovanna Welsh.
    Sophomores—Macy Coleman, Ruth Dodge, Adelaide Maxwell, Rylie Mintling, Allison Owings, Taylor Williams.
    Freshmen—Sydnie Allen, Madison Brown, Ashley Bubak, Brooklyn Christensen, Emma DeGrasse, Carissa Hill, Mallie McNair, Jozie Schilke, Madison Schuller, Sophie Spady.
Repeat state title?
    Of course, it’s out there, Hauxwell said.
    There’s a lot of talk already about a repeat state championship, Hauxwell said, but his focus is again the process.
    “If you focus too much on the end, you lose the process and you’re going to fail,” he said.
    Their team motto this year is “Above the Line.”
    Hauxwell said for them to be on the top of the podium again at Burke Stadium in May, the team has to be “above the line” in everything they do from nutrition to sleep to academics.
    “The short time we have them at practice is only a small part of it,” Hauxwell said. “It’s a 24/7 process.”
    Being in one of the toughest Class C districts again means Chase County has to be ready to compete at the highest level, he said.
    “It’s loaded,” he said of the C-11 district.
    With Mitchell and Dundy Co.
Stratton joining Chase County in the C-11 district, Hauxwell believes three of the top Class C teams in the state will be on the Mitchell track in May.
In Grant Thursday
    Events start at 4 p.m. for the meet in Grant today (Thursday).
    No medals will be awarded or team scores kept. Field event place-winners will come from three throws or jumps, while the running event place-winners will be determined by heat times.
    Teams will be able to enter any number they choose in all events. Besides Chase County and the hosts, other teams at Grant Thursday will be Wauneta-Palisade, South Platte and Dundy Co. Stratton.
    Hauxwell said they have not had all athletes at one practice together yet due to numerous other activities, and he believes they are about a week behind in readiness. That’s due, in part, to the absences and an extended girls’ basketball season this year.
    Most of the Lady Longhorns will be in two events Thursday, a few in three, Hauxwell said.
    The next outing on the CCS schedule is the Ogallala Invitational April 1.
    
      

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