Eagan wants to make up ground in SSC girls track
Wildcats return three state qualifiers
Eagan has had its moments in girls track and field – such as sending three athletes to the 2011 state meet – but when it comes to the South Suburban Conference, the Wildcats have been running in the middle of the pack.
A group of 104 athletes might have a chance to change Eagan’s fortunes in the league, coach Rob Graham said.
“We’ve been fifth or sixth the last couple of years,” Graham said. “The goal, of course, is to move up. We’d like to reach the top third. And if you’re in the top four or five in our conference, usually that means you’re in the top 10 in the state.”
Teams that finish near the top in the South Suburban meet typically have two or three athletes in the finals of a number of events. That’s where Eagan is trying to go.
Distance runners are the Wildcats’ strongest group, led by one of the state’s top performers, junior Danielle Anderson. Anderson has earned All-State recognition in two sports, finishing eighth at the Class AA cross country meet last fall and seventh in the 3,200 meters at the 2011 state track meet.
Seniors Alanna Stangl and Libby Jacoby, both captains, also are part of the distance group. So is junior Elizabeth Frick, an All-State cross country runner in 2010.
Graham said Eagan’s sprint group might be the deepest and most talented he has coached. Sophomore Emerald Egwim is back after qualifying for state last year.
“There are an awful lot of good sprinters in the state,” Graham said. “For Emerald to make it to state as a freshman tells you she is tremendously talented.”
Egwim missed qualifying for the state finals by about one-tenth of a second. By the end of the season she had started to refine her technique in the 200, showing marked improvement in her starts and on the turn, Graham said.
Senior Abby Zenner is a sprint captain. Seniors Jessica Rupp, Breanna Flicek, Rachel Gagne and Haley Seiberlich also are likely to contribute in sprints, as is sophomore Shivani Srikanth.
Junior Alanna Lopez was an all-conference hurdler last year. Junior Kat Torres, a state-qualifying gymnast, also hurdles. In addition to running hurdles races, they also are expected to strengthen Eagan’s sprint relays, Graham said.
Junior Kelsey Doucette was a state qualifier in the high jump last year. Seiberlich, Flicek, sophomore Sammi Toepfer and senior Lauren Praska also are part of the jumping group.
Senior captains Sarah Schuetz and Emily Foertsch lead the shot put and discus throwers.
Eagan also has a couple of eighth-graders that Graham said could contribute immediately. Maddie Gourley is one of the area’s top sprinters in her age group, the coach said, and Olivia Mitchell has performed well in long sprints and middle-distance races.
The Wildcats’ outdoor season opener is 3:45 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at Apple Valley.