In what could be considered a rebuilding season, the Wauseon girls track team has strength in numbers to help the transition go smoothly.
“We are a very young team and we look forward to our returning young ladies leading by example and driving the team to a successful season,” said coach Mike Colon, who takes over for longtime mentor Robin Fisher. “Our freshmen girls will fit in very nicely though (they) may need some time to find the role that fits them best. I know there are some very talented girls in the league and I look forward to the competition this season.”
The Indians have a roster of 33 girls. Returning letter winners are Seneca Wyse, Halen Mealer, Samantha Gray, Miriam Triana (regional placer), Amanda Stutzman, Kallie Strauss, Amy Bosell, Karli Penrod, Avery Giguere, Audry Lane, and Rylee Campbell.
Their most notable returnee is Wyse, who was a state placer in the 400 meter dash and regional placer in both the 100 and 200 in 2015. Giguere was a regional placer in the 1600 meter run, and also was a member of the 4×800 relay team that qualified for state.
Newcomers for the Indians are Sydney Baynes, Amanda Hammontree, Annika Neilsen, Dani Bryan, Brianna Castillio, Aliza Dauterman, Ashton Faylor, Kelsey Garcia, Alex Gray, Seirra Killy, Jordyn Kinnersley, Marissa Martinez, Kalyn Nofziger, Jessica Perez, Hannah Richer, Cecilia Saldivar, Kailei Satkowski, Lexi Sauber, Paige Smith, Jozalyn Smallman, Aubrey Starkweather, and Mallorie Strauss.
“One of our strengths this year will be our returning sprinters,” said Colon. “Our field events will also be an asset to this season’s opportunities.”
The main flaw for the Indians is the time it will take their young athletes to adjust to varsity competition.
“We are (a) very young team, many of the girls will have to step in and fill some places that were strengths last year,” explained Colon. “We lost quite a bit of very talented young ladies and we will be looking for the new additions to find their place and do their part to assist the team.”
The other downfall is having to replace an athlete like Taylor Vernot, who advanced to state in all four years. In 2015, she finished fifth in the 1600, was runner-up in the 3200, and also was a part of the 4×800 relay team. She currently runs for the University of Dayton.
Other letter winners lost were Sally Frank (regional placer), McKayla Campbell, Timber Kreiner, Vasti Becerril, Morgan Roth, Aleea Volkman, and Aneesa Volkman.
Aleea Volkman was a regional placer in the 3200 and a member of the 4×800 relay team.
In the NWOAL, Colon says to look for his team to be in top shape by the time of the league tournament in May.
“The league is tough competition, as always,” he said. “I will look to my girls to make their presence known as the season progresses and we will always bring our best. I think the girls as a team will be able to compete at the level that (the) Wauseon track and field program has become accustomed.”
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010